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Electric Field Induced Biomimetic Transmembrane Electron Transport Using Carbon Nanotube Porins

Hicks, Jacqueline M.; Yao, Yun-Chiao; Barber, Sydney; Neate, Nigel; Watts, Julie A.; Noy, Aleksandr; Rawson, Frankie J.

Electric Field Induced Biomimetic Transmembrane Electron Transport Using Carbon Nanotube Porins Thumbnail


Yun-Chiao Yao

Sydney Barber

Nigel Neate

Aleksandr Noy


Cells modulate their homeostasis through the control of redox reactions via transmembrane electron transport systems. These are largely mediated via oxidoreductase enzymes. Their use in biology has been linked to a host of systems including reprogramming for energy requirements in cancer. Consequently, the ability to modulate membrane redox systems may give rise to opportunities to modulate underlying biology. The current work aims to develop a wireless bipolar electrochemical approach to form on-demand electron transfer across biological membranes. To achieve this goal, it is shown that by using membrane inserted carbon nanotube porins (CNTPs) that can act as bipolar nanoelectrodes, one can control electron flow with externally applied electric fields across membranes. Before this work, bipolar electrochemistry has been thought to require high applied voltages not compatible with biological systems. It is shown that bipolar electrochemical reaction via gold reduction at the nanotubes can be modulated at low cell-friendly voltages, providing an opportunity to use bipolar electrodes to control electron flux across membranes. The authors provide new mechanistic insight into this newly describe phenomena at the nanoscale. The results presented give rise to a new method using CNTPs to modulate cell behavior via wireless control of membrane electron transfer.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 21, 2021
Online Publication Date Jul 16, 2021
Publication Date Aug 12, 2021
Deposit Date Jun 22, 2021
Publicly Available Date Jul 17, 2022
Journal Small
Print ISSN 1613-6810
Electronic ISSN 1613-6829
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 17
Issue 32
Article Number 2102517
Keywords Biomaterials; Biotechnology; General Materials Science; General Chemistry
Public URL
Publisher URL


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