A Light-Actuated Nanovalve Derived from a Channel Protein

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Science  29 Jul 2005:
Vol. 309, Issue 5735, pp. 755-758
DOI: 10.1126/science.1114760

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Toward the realization of nanoscale device control, we report a molecular valve embedded in a membrane that can be opened by illumination with long-wavelength ultraviolet (366 nanometers) light and then resealed by visible irradiation. The valve consists of a channel protein, the mechanosensitive channel of large conductance (MscL) from Escherichia coli, modified by attachment of synthetic compounds that undergo light-induced charge separation to reversibly open and close a 3-nanometer pore. The system is compatible with a classical encapsulation system, the liposome, and external photochemical control over transport through the channel is achieved.

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