Design and fine-tuning redox potentials of metalloproteins involved in electron transfer in bioenergetics

Parisa Hosseinzadeh, Yi Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Redox potentials are a major contributor in controlling the electron transfer (ET) rates and thus regulating the ET processes in the bioenergetics. To maximize the efficiency of the ET process, one needs to master the art of tuning the redox potential, especially in metalloproteins, as they represent major classes of ET proteins. In this review, we first describe the importance of tuning the redox potential of ET centers and its role in regulating the ET in bioenergetic processes including photosynthesis and respiration. The main focus of this review is to summarize recent work in designing the ET centers, namely cupredoxins, cytochromes, and iron-sulfur proteins, and examples in design of protein networks involved these ET centers. We then discuss the factors that affect redox potentials of these ET centers including metal ion, the ligands to metal center and interactions beyond the primary ligand, especially non-covalent secondary coordination sphere interactions. We provide examples of strategies to fine-tune the redox potential using both natural and unnatural amino acids and native and nonnative cofactors. Several case studies are used to illustrate recent successes in this area. Outlooks for future endeavors are also provided. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled Biodesign for Bioenergetics - the design and engineering of electronic transfer cofactors, proteins and protein networks, edited by Ronald L. Koder and J.L. Ross Anderson.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)557-581
Number of pages25
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Bioenergetics
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2016


  • Cupredoxin
  • Cytochromes
  • Iron-sulfur proteins
  • Metalloenzymes
  • Non-covalent interactions
  • Secondary coordination sphere

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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