Biomimetic catalysis

Fuel to fuel

Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. http://doi.org/f3mb4c (2016)

Cells generate energy by coupling a proton gradient across a phospholipid bilayer with a membrane-spanning ATP synthase enzyme. In an effort to mimic this process in an artificial environment, Marisela Vélez, Antonio De Lacey, Iván López-Montero and colleagues now show that ATP can be efficiently produced by using molecular hydrogen as a fuel.

The researchers, who are based at the Spanish National Research Council, the Universidad Complutense de Madrid and the Universidade Nova de Lisboa, designed a biomimetic system with a hydrogenase catalyst bound to a gold surface, on top of which is deposited a membrane bilayer containing ATP synthase. Under a small voltage bias, hydrogen from solution gets oxidized, thus forming a proton gradient across the phospholipid membrane. This gradient, which can be as large as 1 pH unit, drives the conversion of ADP to ATP by reaction with a phosphate ion from solution.

The system developed by Vélez and co-workers is reversible (where the ATP synthase generates a proton gradient by converting ATP to ADP and phosphate ions) and has a turnover rate around an order of magnitude higher than that found in analogous biomimetic systems that use other means, such as light, to create the proton gradient.

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Moscatelli, A. Fuel to fuel. Nature Nanotech (2016). https://doi.org/10.1038/nnano.2016.77

Download citation

Search

Find nanotechnology articles, nanomaterial data and patents all in one place. Visit Nano by Nature Research