Sediment microbial fuel cells (SMFCs) have been used as renewable power sources for sensors in fresh and ocean waters. Organic compounds at the anode drive anodic reactions, while oxygen drives cathodic reactions. An understanding of oxygen reduction kinetics and the factors that determine graphite cathode performance is needed to predict cathodic current and potential losses, and eventually to estimate the power production of SMFCs. Our goals were to (1) experimentally quantify the dependence of oxygen reduction kinetics on temperature, electrode potential, and dissolved oxygen concentration for the graphite cathodes of SMFCs and (2) develop a mechanistic model. To accomplish this, we monitored current on polarized cathodes in river and ocean SMFCs. We found that (1) after oxygen reduction is initiated, the current density is linearly dependent on polarization potential for both SMFC types; (2) current density magnitude increases linearly with temperature in river SMFCs but remains constant with temperature in ocean SMFCs; (3) the standard heterogeneous rate constant controls the current density temperature dependence; (4) river and ocean SMFC graphite cathodes have large potential losses, estimated by the model to be 470 mV and 614 mV, respectively; and (5) the electrochemical potential available at the cathode is the primary factor controlling reduction kinetic rates. The mechanistic model based on thermodynamic and electrochemical principles successfully fit and predicted the data. The data, experimental system, and model can be used in future studies to guide SMFC design and deployment, assess SMFC current production, test cathode material performance, and predict cathode contamination.
We present 13 3J, seven 2J and four 1J coupling constants (24 in all) calculated using B3LYP/D95** as a function of the ϕ and ψ Ramachandran dihedral angles of the acetyl(Ala)3NH2 capped trialanine peptide over the entire Ramachandran space. With the exception of three of these J couplings, all show significant dependence upon both dihedral angles. For each J coupling considered, a two dimensional grid with respect to ϕ and ψ angles can be used to interpolate the values for any pair of ϕ and ψ values. Such simple interpolation is shown to be very accurate. Most of these calculated J couplings should prove useful for improving the accuracy of the determination of peptide and protein structure from NMR measurements in solution over that provided by the common procedure of treating the J couplings as functions of a single dihedral angle by means of Karplus-type fittings.
We describe an Ewald-summation method to incorporate long-range electrostatic interactions into fragment-based electronic structure methods for periodic systems. The present method is an extension of the particle-mesh Ewald technique for combined quantum mechanical and molecular mechanical (QM/MM) calculations, and it has been implemented into the explicit polarization (X-Pol) potential to illustrate the computational details. As in the QM/MM-Ewald method, the X-Pol-Ewald approach is a linear-scaling electrostatic method, in which the short-range electrostatic interactions are determined explicitly in real space and the long-range Ewald pair potential is incorporated into the Fock matrix as a correction. To avoid the time-consuming Fock matrix update during the self-consistent field procedure, a mean image charge (MIC) approximation is introduced, in which the running average with a user-chosen correlation time is used to represent the long-range electrostatic correction as an average effect. Test simulations on liquid water show that the present X-Pol-Ewald method takes about 25% more CPU time than the usual X-Pol method using spherical cutoff, whereas the use of the MIC approximation reduces the extra costs for long-range electrostatic interactions by 15%. The present X-Pol-Ewald method provides a general procedure for incorporating long-range electrostatic effects into fragment-based electronic structure methods for treating biomolecular and condensed-phase systems under periodic boundary conditions.
2−/− (D4h, 1A1g) is a cluster ion that has been established to be planar, aromatic, and contain a tetracoordinate planar C atom. Valence isoelectronic substitution of C with Si and Ge in this cluster leads to a radical change of structure toward distorted pentagonal species. We find that this structural change goes together with the cluster acquiring partial covalency of bonding between Si/Ge and Al4, facilitated by hybridization of the atomic orbitals (AOs). Counter intuitively, for the AAl4
2−/− (A = C, Si, Ge) clusters, hybridization in the dopant atom is strengthened from C, to Si, and to Ge, even though typically AOs are more likely to hybridize if they are closer in energy (i.e. in earlier elements in the Periodic Table). The trend is explained by the better overlap of the hybrids of the heavier dopants with the orbitals of Al4. From the thus understood trend, it is inferred that covalency in such clusters can be switched off, by varying the relative sizes of the AOs of the main element and the dopant. Using this mechanism, we then successfully killed covalency in Si, and predicted a new aromatic cluster ion containing a tetracoordinate square planar Si, SiIn4
First-principles anharmonic vibrational calculations are carried out for the Raman spectrum of the C–H stretching bands in dodecane, and for the C–D bands in the deuterated molecule. The calculations use the Vibrational Self-Consistent Field (VSCF) algorithm. The results are compared with liquid-state experiments, after smoothing the isolated-molecule sharp-line computed spectra. Very good agreement between the computed and experimental results is found for the two systems. The combined theoretical and experimental results provide insights into the spectrum, elucidating the roles of symmetric and asymmetric CH3 and CH2 hydrogenic stretches. This is expected to be very useful for the interpretation of spectra of long-chain hydrocarbons. The results show that anharmonic effects on the spectrum are large. On the other hand, vibrational degeneracy effects seem to be rather modest at the resolution of the experiments. The degeneracy effects may have more pronounced manifestations in higher-resolution experiments. The results show that first-principles anharmonic vibrational calculations for hydrocarbons are feasible, in good agreement with experiment, opening the way for applications to many similar systems. The results may be useful for the analysis of CARS imaging of lipids, for which dodecane is a representative molecule. It is suggested that first-principles vibrational calculations may be useful also for CARS imaging of other systems.
Effects of covalent intramolecular bonds, either native disulfide bridges or chemical crosslinks, on ESI supercharging of proteins from aqueous solutions were investigated. Chemically modifying cytochrome c with up to seven crosslinks or ubiquitin with up to two crosslinks did not affect the average or maximum charge states of these proteins in the absence of m-nitrobenzyl alcohol (m-NBA), but the extent of supercharging induced by m-NBA increased with decreasing numbers of crosslinks. For the model random coil polypeptide reduced/alkylated RNase A, a decrease in charging with increasing m-NBA concentration attributable to reduced surface tension of the ESI droplet was observed, whereas native RNase A electrosprayed from these same solutions exhibited enhanced charging. The inverse relationship between the extent of supercharging and the number of intramolecular crosslinks for folded proteins, as well as the absence of supercharging for proteins that are random coils in aqueous solution, indicate that conformational restrictions induced by the crosslinks reduce the extent of supercharging. These results provide additional evidence that protein and protein complex supercharging from aqueous solution is primarily due to partial or significant unfolding that occurs as a result of chemical and/or thermal denaturation induced by the supercharging reagent late in the ESI droplet lifetime.
We review the coarse-grained UNited RESidue (UNRES) force field for the simulations of protein structure and dynamics, which is being developed in our laboratory over the last several years. UNRES is a physics-based force field, the prototype of which is defined as a potential of mean force of polypeptide chains in water, where all the degrees of freedom except the coordinates of α-carbon atoms and side-chain centers have been integrated out. We describe the initial implementation of UNRES to protein-structure prediction formulated as a search for the global minimum of the potential-energy function and its subsequent molecular dynamics and extensions of molecular-dynamics implementation, which enabled us to study protein-folding pathways and thermodynamics, as well as to reformulate the protein-structure prediction problem as a search for the conformational ensemble with the lowest free energy at temperatures below the folding-transition temperature. Applications of UNRES to study biological problems are also described.
Proton transfer (pT) reactions in biochemical processes are often mediated by chains of hydrogen-bonded water molecules. We use hybrid density functional calculations to study pT along quasi one-dimensional water arrays that connect an imidazolium-imidazole proton donor-acceptor pair. We characterize the structures of intermediates and transition states, the energetics, and the dynamics of the pT reactions, including vibrational contributions to kinetic isotope effects. In molecular dynamics simulations of pT transition paths, we find that for short water chains with four water molecules, the pT reactions are semi-concerted. The formation of a high-energy hydronium intermediate next to the proton-donating group is avoided by a simultaneous transfer of a proton from the donor to the first water molecule, and from the first water molecule into the water chain. Lowering the dielectric constant of the environment and increasing the water chain length both reduce the barrier for pT. We study the effect of the driving force on the energetics of the pT reaction by changing the proton affinity of the donor and acceptor groups through halogen and methyl substitutions. We find that the barrier of the pT reaction depends linearly on the proton affinity of the donor but is nearly independent of the proton affinity of the acceptor, corresponding to Brønsted slopes of one and zero, respectively.
Water molecules confined to pores with sub-nanometer diameters form single-file hydrogen-bonded chains. In such nanoscale confinement, water has unusual physical properties that are exploited in biology and hold promise for a wide range of biomimetic and nanotechnological applications. The latter can be realized by carbon and boron-nitride nanotubes which confine water in a relatively non-specific way and lend themselves to the study of intrinsic properties of single-file water. As a consequence of strong water-water hydrogen bonds, many characteristics of single-file water are conserved in biological and synthetic pores despite differences in their atomistic structure. Charge transport and orientational order in water chains depend sensitively on and are mainly determined by electrostatic effects. Thus, mimicking functions of biological pores with apolar pores and corresponding external fields gives insight into the structure-function relation of biological pores and allows the development of technical applications beyond the molecular devices found in living systems. In this Perspective, we revisit results for single-file water in apolar pores, and examine the similarities and the differences between these simple systems and water in more complex pores.
In theory and in the analysis of experiments, protein folding is often described as diffusion along a single coordinate. We explore here the application of a one-dimensional diffusion model to interpret simulations of protein folding, where the parameters of a model that “best” describes the simulation trajectories are determined using a Bayesian analysis. We discuss the requirements for such a model to be a good approximation to the global dynamics, and several methods for testing its accuracy. For example, one test considers the effect of an added bias potential on the fitted free energies and diffusion coefficients. Such a bias may also be used to extend our approach to determining parameters for the model to systems which would not normally explore the full coordinate range on accessible time scales. Alternatively, the propagators predicted from the model at different “lag” times may be compared with observations from simulation. We then present some applications of the model to protein folding, including Kramers-like turnover in folding rates of coarse-grained models, the effect of non-native interactions on folding, and the effect of the chosen coordinate on the observed position-dependence of the diffusion coefficients. Lastly, we consider how our results are useful for the interpretation of experiments, and how this type of Bayesian analysis may eventually be applied directly to analyse experimental data.
Fe-based catalytic sites for the reduction of oxygen in acidic medium have been identified by 57Fe Mössbauer spectroscopy of Fe/N/C catalysts containing 0.03 to 1.55 wt% Fe, which were prepared by impregnation of iron acetate on carbon black followed by heat-treatment in NH3 at 950°C. Four different Fe-species were detected at all iron concentrations: three doublets assigned to molecular FeN4-like sites with their ferrous ion in low (D1), medium (D2) or high spin state (D3), and two other doublets assigned to a single Fe-species (D4 and D5) consisting of surface oxidized nitride nanoparticles (FexN, with x≤2.1). A fifth Fe-species appears only in those catalysts with Fe-contents ≥ 0.27 wt%. It is characterized by a very broad singlet, which has been assigned to incomplete FeN4-like sites that quickly dissolve in contact with an acid. Among the five Fe-species identified in these catalysts, only D1 and D3 display catalytic activity for the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) in the acid medium, with D3 featuring a composite structure with a protonated neighbour basic nitrogen and being by far the most active species, with an estimated turn over frequency for the ORR of 11.4 e− site−1 s−1 at 0.8V vs RHE. Moreover, all D1 sites and between 1/2 to 2/3 of the D3 sites are acid-resistant. A scheme for the mechanism of site formation upon heat-treatment is also proposed. This identification of the ORR-active sites in these catalysts is of crucial importance to design strategies to improve the catalytic activity and stability of these materials.
Single molecule Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) experiments are a versatile method for investigating the conformational distributions and dynamics of biological macromolecules. In a common type of experiment, the fluorescence bursts from individual molecules freely diffusing in solution are detected as they pass through the observation volume of a confocal microscope. Correlation analysis of the fluorescence bursts shows that under typical experimental conditions, for time scales up to several tens of milliseconds, the probability for a molecule to return to the confocal volume is greater than the probability of a new molecule being detected. Here we present RASP (recurrence analysis of single particles), a method that is based on this recurrence behavior and allows us to significantly extend the information that can be extracted from single molecule FRET experiments. The number and peak shapes of subpopulations within the sample can be identified essentially in a model-free way by constructing recurrence FRET efficiency histograms. These are obtained by first selecting photon bursts from a small transfer efficiency range (initial bursts), and then building the FRET efficiency histogram only from bursts detected within a short time (the recurrence interval) after the initial bursts. Systematic variation of the recurrence interval allows the kinetics of interconversion between subpopulations to be determined on time scales from ~50 μs up to ~100 ms from equilibrium measurements. We demonstrate the applicability of the method on measurements of several peptides and proteins with different degrees of conformational heterogeneity and folding dynamics. The concepts presented here can be extended to other observables available from single molecule fluorescence experiments.
Recent years have witnessed a tremendous explosion in computational power, which in turn has resulted in great progress in the complexity of the biological and chemical problems that can be addressed by means of all-atom simulations. Despite this, however, our computational time is not infinite, and in fact many of the key problems of the field were resolved long before the existence of the current levels of computational power. This review will start by presenting a brief historical overview of the use of multiscale simulations in biology, and then present some key developments in the field, highlighting several cases where the use of a physically sound simplification is clearly superior to a brute-force approach. Finally, some potential future directions will be discussed.
Engineering plasmonic nanostructures that simultaneously achieve high colloidal stability, high photothermal stability, low non-specific binding to biological specimens, and low toxicity is of significant interest to research in bionanotechnology. Using gold nanorods, we solved this problem by encapsulating them with a multilayer structure, silica, hydrophobic ligands, and amphiphilic-polymers. In comparison with nanorods covered with the conventional surface chemistries, such as surfactants, polyelectrolytes, thiolated polymers, and silica shells alone, the new nanorods remain single in various solutions and show remarkable stability against laser irradiation. We further demonstrated specific targeting and effective treatment of prostate tumor cells using nanorod–aptamer bioconjugates. This exquisitely formulated nanoencapsulation technology could potentially help stabilize other plasmonic nanostructures that are not in the most thermodynamically or chemically stable states, and should open exciting opportunities in nanotechnology-based imaging and therapeutics.
E Unus pluribum, or “Of One, Many”, may be at the root of decoding the RNA sequence-structure-function relationship. RNAs embody the large majority of genes in higher eukaryotes and fold in a sequence-directed fashion into three-dimensional structures that perform functions conserved across all cellular life forms, ranging from regulating to executing gene expression. While it is the most important determinant of RNA structure, the nucleotide sequence is generally not sufficient to specify a unique set of secondary and tertiary interactions due to the highly frustrated nature of RNA folding. This frustration results in folding heterogeneity, a common phenomenon wherein a chemically homogeneous population of RNA molecules folds into multiple stable structures. Often, these alternative conformations constitute misfolds, lacking the biological activity of the natively folded RNA. Intriguingly, a number of RNAs have recently been described as capable of adopting multiple distinct conformations that all perform, or contribute to, the same function. Characteristically, these conformations interconvert slowly on the experimental timescale, suggesting that they should be regarded as distinct native states. We discuss how rugged folding free energy landscapes give rise to multiple native states in the Tetrahymena Group I intron ribozyme, hairpin ribozyme, sarcin-ricin loop, ribosome, and an in vitro selected aptamer. We further describe the varying degrees to which folding heterogeneity impacts function in these RNAs, and compare and contrast this impact with that of heterogeneities found in protein folding. Embracing that one sequence can give rise to multiple native folds, we hypothesize that this phenomenon imparts adaptive advantages on any functionally evolving RNA quasispecies.
A microchip patterned with arrays of single cancer cells can be an effective platform for study of tumor biology, medical diagnostics, and drug screening. However, patterning and retaining viable single cancer cells on defined sites of the microarray can be challenging. In this study we used a tumor cell-specific peptide, chlorotoxin (CTX), to mediate glioma cell ahdesion on arrays of gold microelectrodes and investigated the effects of three surface modification schemes for conjugation of CTX to the microelectrodes on single cell patterning, which include physical adsorption, covalent bonding mediated by N-hydroxysuccinimide (NHS), and covalent bonding via crosslinking succinimidyl iodoacetate and Traut’s (SIA-Traut) regents. The CTX immobilization to microelectrodes was confirmed by high-resolution X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. Physically adsorbed CTX showed better support for cell adheison and is more effective in confining adhered cells on the electrodes than covalently-bound CTX. Furthermore, cell adhesion and spreading on microelectrodes were quantified in real-time by impedance measurements, which revealed an impedance signal from physically adsorbed CTX electrodes four times greater than the signal from covalently-bound CTX electrodes.
The synthesis of 2′-azido-5-cyano-2′-deoxyuridine, N3CNdU (1), from trityl-protected 2′-amino-2′-deoxyuridine was accomplished in four steps with a 12.5% overall yield. The IR absorption positions and profiles of the azide and nitrile group of N3CNdU were investigated in 14 different solvents and water/DMSO solvent mixtures. The azide probe was superior to the nitrile probe in terms of its extinction coefficient, which is 2–4 times larger. However, the nitrile IR absorbance profile is generally less complicated by accidental Fermi resonance. The IR frequencies of both probes undergo a substantial red shift upon going from water to aprotic solvents such as THF or DMSO. DFT calculations supported the hypothesis that the molecular origin of the higher observed frequency in water is primarily due to hydrogen bonds between the probes and water molecules.
Infrared spectroscopy; azide; nitrile; nucleosides; DNA; density functional theory
We perform steered molecular dynamics (SMD) simulations and use the Brownian dynamics fluctuation-dissipation-theorem (BD -FDT) to accurately compute the free-energy profiles for several biophysical processes of fundamental importance: hydration of methane and cations, binding of benzene to T4-lysozyme L99A mutant, and permeation of water through aquaglyceroporin. For each system, the center-of-mass of the small molecule (methane, ion, benzene, and water, respectively) is steered (pulled) at a given speed over a period of time, during which the system transitions from one macroscopic state/conformation (State A) to another one (State B). The mechanical work of pulling the system is measured during the process, sampling a forward pulling path. Then the reverse pulling is conducted to sample a reverse path from B back to A. Sampling a small number of forward and reverse paths, we are able to accurately compute the free-energy profiles for all the afore-listed systems that represent various important aspects of biological physics. The numerical results are in excellent agreement with the experimental data and/or other computational studies available in the literature. 82.20.Wt, 82.37.Rs, 05.60.Cd, 05.40.Jc, 05.70.Ln
Electrochemical detection combined with nanostructured sensor surfaces offers potentially low-cost, high-throughput solutions for detection of clinically significant proteins. Inkjet printing offers an inexpensive non-contact fabrication method for microelectronics that is easily adapted for incorporating into protein immunosensor devices. Herein we report the first direct fabrication of inkjet-printed gold nanoparticle arrays, and apply them to electrochemical detection of the cancer biomarker interleukin-6 (IL-6) in serum. The gold nanoparticle ink was printed on a flexible, heat resistant polyimide Kapton substrate and subsequently sintered to create eight-electrode arrays costing <0.2 euro per array. The inkjet-printed working electrodes had reproducible surface areas with RSD <3%. Capture antibodies for IL-6 were linked onto the eight-electrode array, and used in sandwich immunoassays. A biotinylated secondary antibody with 16-18 horseradish peroxidase labels was used, and detection was achieved by hydroquinone-mediated amperometry. The arrays provided a clinically relevant detection limit of 20 pg mL−1 in calf serum, sensitivity of 11.4 nA pg−1 cm−2, and a linear dynamic range of 20–400 pg mL−1.
Recent studies questioned whether the PDB contains all compact, single domain protein structures. Here, we show that all quasi-spherical, QS, random protein structures devoid of secondary structure are in the PDB and are excellent templates for all native PDB proteins up to 250 residues. Because QS templates have similar global contour as native, TASSER can refine 98% (90%) of those whose TM-score is 0.4 (0.35) to structures ≥ the 0.5 TM-score threshold (0.74 (0.64) mean TM-score) for CATH/SCOP assignment. Based on this and the fact that at a TM-score of 0.4, 83% (90%) of all (internal) core secondary structure elements are recovered, a 0.40 TM-score is an appropriate fold similarity assignment threshold. Despite claims of Taylor, Trovato and Zhou that many of their structures lack a PDB counterpart, using fr-TM-align, at a 0.45 (0.5) TM-score threshold, essentially all (most) are found in the PDB. Thus, the conclusion that the PDB is likely complete is further supported.
Completeness of the PDB; structural alignment; TM-align; TM-score threshold of 0.4; SCOP and CATH fold assignment; protein structure refinement
The vibrations in the azido-, N3, asymmetric stretching region of 2′-azido-2′-deoxyuridine (N3dU) are examined by two-dimensional infrared spectroscopy. In water and tetrahydrofuran (THF), the spectra display a single sharp diagonal peak that shows solvent sensitivity. The frequency-frequency correlation time in water is 1.5 ps, consistent with H-bond making and breaking dynamics. The 2D IR spectrum is reproduced for N3dU in water based on a model correlation function and known linear response functions. Its large extinction coefficient, vibrational frequency outside the protein and nucleic acid IR absorption, and sensitivity to water dynamics renders -N3 a very useful probe for 2D IR and other nonlinear IR studies: its signal is ca. 100 times that of nitrile.
Membrane tension modulates cellular processes by initiating changes in the dynamics of its molecular constituents. To quantify the precise relationship between tension, structural properties of the membrane, and the dynamics of lipids and a lipophilic reporter dye, we performed atomistic molecular dynamics (MD) simulations of DiI-labeled dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine (DPPC) lipid bilayers under physiological lateral tensions ranging from −2.6 mN m−1 to 15.9 mN m−1. Simulations showed that the bilayer thickness decreased linearly with tension consistent with volume-incompressibility, and this thinning was facilitated by a significant increase in acyl chain interdigitation at the bilayer midplane and spreading of the acyl chains. Tension caused a significant drop in the bilayer's peak electrostatic potential, which correlated with the strong reordering of water and lipid dipoles. For the low tension regime, the DPPC lateral diffusion coefficient increased with increasing tension in accordance with free-area theory. For larger tensions, free area theory broke down due to tension-induced changes in molecular shape and friction. Simulated DiI rotational and lateral diffusion coefficients were lower than those of DPPC but increased with tension in a manner similar to DPPC. Direct correlation of membrane order and viscosity near the DiI chromophore, which was just under the DPPC headgroup, indicated that measured DiI fluorescence lifetime, which is reported to decrease with decreasing lipid order, is likely to be a good reporter of tension-induced decreases in lipid headgroup viscosity. Together, these results offer new molecular-level insights into membrane tension-related mechanotransduction and into the utility of DiI in characterizing tension-induced changes in lipid packing.
Water is an essential component for many biological processes. Pauling proposed that water might play a critical role in general anesthesia by forming water clathrates around anesthetic molecules. To examine potential involvement of water in general anesthesia, we analyzed water within α4β2 nAChR, a putative protein target hypersensitive to volatile anesthetics. Experimental structure-derived closed- and open-channel nAChR systems in a fully hydrated lipid bilayer were examined using all-atom molecular dynamics simulations. At the majority of binding sites in α4β2 nAChR, halothane replaced the slow-exchanging water molecules and caused a regional water population decrease. Only two binding sites had an increased quantity of water in the presence of halothane, where water arrangements resemble clathrate-like structures. The small number of such clathrate-like water clusters suggests that the formation of water clathrates is unlikely to be a primary cause for anesthesia. Despite the decrease in water population at most of the halothane binding sites, the number of sites that can be occupied transiently by water is actually increased in the presence of halothane. Many of these water sites were located between two subunits or in regions containing agonist binding sites or critical structural elements for transducing agonist binding to channel gating. Changes in water sites in the presence of halothane affected water-mediated protein-protein interactions and the protein dynamics, which can have direct impact on protein function. Collectively, water contributes to the action of anesthetics in proteins by mediating interactions between protein subunits and altering protein dynamics, instead of forming water clathrates around anesthetics.
anesthesia mechanism; halothane; nicotinic acetylcholine receptor; alpha4beta2; water; water clathrates
We performed a 40 ns simulation of 1,1′-dioctadecyl-3,3,3′,3′-tetramethylindocarbocyanine perchlorate (DiI-C18(3)) in a 1,2-dipalmitoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphatidyl choline (DPPC) bilayer in order to facilitate interpretation of lipid dynamics and membrane structure from fluorescence lifetime, anisotropy, and fluorescence correlations spectroscopy (FCS). Incorporation of DiI of 1.6 to 3.2 mol% induced negligible changes in area per lipid but detectable increases in bilayer thickness, each of which are indicators of membrane structural perturbation. The DiI chromophore angle was 77 ± 17° with respect to the bilayer normal, consistent with rotational diffusion inferred from polarization studies. The DiI headgroup was located 0.63 nm below the lipid head group–water interface, a novel result in contrast to some popular cartoon representations of DiI but consistent with DiI’s increase in quantum yield when incorporated into lipid bilayers. Importantly, the fast component of rotational anisotropy matched published experimental results demonstrating that sufficient free volume exists at the sub-interfacial region to support fast rotations. Simulations with non-charged DiI head groups exhibited DiI flip-flop, demonstrating that the positively-charged chromophore stabilizes the orientation and location of DiI in a single monolayer. DiI induced detectable changes in interfacial properties of water ordering, electrostatic potential, and changes in P–N vector orientation of DPPC lipids. The diffusion coefficient of DiI (9.7 ± 0.02 × 10−8 cm2 s−1) was similar to the diffusion of DPPC molecules (10.7 ± 0.04 × 10−8 cm2 s−1), supporting the conclusion that DiI dynamics reflect lipid dynamics. These results provide the first atomistic level insight into DiI dynamics, results essential in elucidating lipid dynamics through single molecule fluorescence studies.
This perspective gives an overview of recent developments in surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) for biosensing. We focus this review on SERS papers published in the last 10 years and to specific applications of detecting biological analytes. Both intrinsic and extrinsic SERS biosensing schemes have been employed to detect and identify small molecules, nucleic acids, lipids, peptides, and proteins, as well as for in vivo and cellular sensing. Current SERS substrate technologies along with a series of advancements in surface chemistry, sample preparation, intrinsic/extrinsic signal transduction schemes, and tip-enhanced Raman spectroscopy are discussed. The progress covered herein shows great promise for widespread adoption of SERS biosensing.