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Posted: Aug 08, 2016
Protein cages for designing various catalytic reactions
(Nanowerk News) Compartmentalization is a common strategy used by living organisms to create isolated reaction environments to protect reaction catalysts from undesired reaction partners in cells. Mimicking such compartment systems is a novel approach for developing new biohybrid materials as well as for understanding the complex cellular processes.
Schematic representation showing the crystal structure and catalytic reactions of apo-ferritin cage containing both Ir and Pd complexes.
The composite was prepared by the stepwise incorporation of Ir complex followed by introduction of Pd complex in buffer solution. The resulting protein composite was purified, crystallized, and characterized by X-ray crystallography.
The X-ray crystal structure analysis revealed that the Ir and Pd metal complexes have different binding preferences and to exist simultaneously inside the single protein cage. Notably, both the metal complexes are catalytically active and can promote cascade reactions such as Ir catalyzed hydrogenation and Pd catalyzed Suzuki-Miyuara cross-coupling reactions simultaneously inside the cage while keeping the entire cage structure intact.
The findings show that the concept of incorporating multiple metal catalysts into a single cage is promising for developing protein-based microcompartments and biomimetic materials for catalytic applications.