Engineering of supramolecular photoactive protein architectures: the defined co-assembly of photosystem I and cytochrome c using a nanoscaled DNA-matrix†
The engineering of renewable and sustainable protein-based light-to-energy converting systems is an emerging field of research. Here, we report on the development of supramolecular light-harvesting electrodes, consisting of the redox protein cytochrome c working as a molecular scaffold as well as a conductive wiring network and photosystem I as a photo-functional matrix element. Both proteins form complexes in solution, which in turn can be adsorbed on thiol-modified gold electrodes through a self-assembly mechanism. To overcome the limited stability of self-grown assemblies, DNA, a natural polyelectrolyte, is used as a further building block for the construction of a photo-active 3D architecture. DNA acts as a structural matrix element holding larger protein amounts and thus remarkably improving the maximum photocurrent and electrode stability. On investigating the photophysical properties, this system demonstrates that effective electron pathways have been created.