Being able to control protein function directly and in real time is attractive. In this thesis, I discuss controlling protein activity using alternating current electric fields on the order of 1 MV/m. Since protein structures result in localized and/or protein-wide charge gradients, it is expected that a sufficiently high electric field applied across a protein should result in structural distortions which can temporarily alter or halt protein function. The field is set to oscillate above the influences of the electrochemical double layer effects (1 kHz) and below the level needed for hydrodynamic rotation of proteins (10 MHz). A device is used to pass this field across a small volume of sample while allowing the solution to still be observed. Through application of high electric fields, we are able to temporarily reduce the activity of a bioluminescent luciferase reaction. Activity is inferred by measurement of the intensity and wavelength of the light emitted by the luciferase reaction. As this process is explored further, it could lead to the ability to electrically control protein function.
College and Department
Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Electrical and Computer Engineering
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Landry, David Michael, "Proteins in High Electric Fields" (2013). All Theses and Dissertations. 4286.
proteins, molecular biophysics, biotechnology, electric fields