A wealth of information on the reactions of redox-active sites in proteins can be obtained by voltammetric studies in which the protein sample is arranged as a layer on an electrode surface. By carrying out cyclic voltammetry over a wide range of scan rates and exploiting the ability to poise or pulse the electrode potential between cycles, data are obtained that are conveniently (albeit simplistically) analysed in terms of plots of peak potentials against scan rate. A simple reversible electron-transfer process gives rise to a 'trumpet'-shaped plot because the oxidation and reduction peaks separate increasingly at high scan rate; the electrochemical kinetics are then determined by fitting to Butler-Volmer or Marcus models. Much more interesting though are the ways in which this 'trumpet plot' is altered, often dramatically, when electron transfer is coupled to biologically important processes such as proton transfer, ligand exchange, or a change in conformation. It is then possible to derive particularly detailed information on the kinetics, energetics and mechanism of reactions that may not be revealed clearly or even at all by other methods. In order to interpret the voltammetry of coupled systems, it is important to be able to define 'ideal behaviour' for systems that are expected to show simple and uncoupled electron transfer. Accordingly, this paper describes results we have obtained for several proteins that are expected to show such behaviour, and compares these results with theoretical predictions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry