Protein footprinting by pyrite shrink-wrap laminate†
The structure of macromolecules and their complexes dictate their biological function. In “footprinting”, the solvent accessibility of the residues that constitute proteins, DNA and RNA can be determined from their reactivity to an exogenous reagent such as the hydroxyl radical (·OH). While ·OH generation for protein footprinting is achieved by radiolysis, photolysis and electrochemistry, we present a simpler solution. A thin film of pyrite (cubic FeS2) nanocrystals deposited onto a shape memory polymer (commodity shrink-wrap film) generates sufficient ·OH via Fenton chemistry for oxidative footprinting analysis of proteins. We demonstrate that varying either time or H2O2 concentration yields the required ·OH dose–oxidation response relationship. A simple and scalable sample handling protocol is enabled by thermoforming the “pyrite shrink-wrap laminate” into a standard microtiter plate format. The low cost and malleability of the laminate facilitates its integration into high throughput screening and microfluidic devices.