Single-Molecule Lysozyme Dynamics Monitored by an Electronic Circuit

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Science  20 Jan 2012:
Vol. 335, Issue 6066, pp. 319-324
DOI: 10.1126/science.1214824

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Tethering a single lysozyme molecule to a carbon nanotube field-effect transistor produced a stable, high-bandwidth transducer for protein motion. Electronic monitoring during 10-minute periods extended well beyond the limitations of fluorescence techniques to uncover dynamic disorder within a single molecule and establish lysozyme as a processive enzyme. On average, 100 chemical bonds are processively hydrolyzed, at 15-hertz rates, before lysozyme returns to its nonproductive, 330-hertz hinge motion. Statistical analysis differentiated single-step hinge closure from enzyme opening, which requires two steps. Seven independent time scales governing lysozyme’s activity were observed. The pH dependence of lysozyme activity arises not from changes to its processive kinetics but rather from increasing time spent in either nonproductive rapid motions or an inactive, closed conformation.

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