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Methods Mol Biol. 2011;679:193-205. doi: 10.1007/978-1-60761-895-9_16.

Cytochrome C stabilization and immobilization in aerogels.

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Chemistry Department, Fairfield University, Fairfield, CT, USA.


Sol-gel-derived aerogels are three-dimensional, nanoscale materials that combine large surface areas and high porosities. These traits make them useful for any rate-critical chemical process, particularly sensing or electrochemical applications, once physical or chemical moieties are incorporated into the gels to add their functionality into the ultraporous scaffold. Incorporating biomolecules into aerogels has been challenging due to the inability of most biomolecules to remain structurally intact within the gels during the necessary supercritical fluid processing. However, the heme protein cytochrome c (cyt. c) forms self-organized superstructures around gold (or silver) nanoparticles in buffer that can be encapsulated within silica and processed to form aerogels in which cyt. c retains its characteristic visible absorption. The gold (or silver) nanoparticle-nucleated superstructures protect the majority of the protein from the harsh physicochemical conditions necessary to form an aerogel. The Au∼cyt. c superstructures exhibit rapid gas-phase recognition of nitric oxide (NO) within the aerogel matrix, as facilitated by the high-quality pore structure of the aerogel, and remain viable for weeks at room temperature.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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