Lital ALFONTA Conference

Genetic code expansion in bioelectrochemical systems

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (Israel)

Friday, July 7, 2023 – 10:30 a.m.

University of Rennes 1 – Beaulieu Campus
Building 10B, Grandjean Amphitheater

Condensed Matter and Electroactive Systems team

Contact: Frédéric Barrière (3 59 43) - frederic [dot] barriereatuniv-rennes1 [dot] fr


Genetic code expansion is a robust technology that enables the site-specific modification of proteins theoretically at will, with more than 300 unnatural amino acids. This ability enables the modification of proteins with biorthogonal chemical handles, biophysical probes, and redox-active amino acids that do not exist in nature as amino acids, among other possibilities. In the past several years we have expanded the genetic code of several microorganisms: Synechococcus sp. cyanobacteria, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Vibrio natriegens, and Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. Thus, we now have a set of molecular tools that allow us to modify proteins in these microorganisms in addition to E. coli. In those different microorganisms, proteins and enzymes were modified with unnatural amino acids to tether them site-specifically to electrodes to allow direct electron transfer between the enzyme active site and an electrode. Enzymes were both oxidative enzymes where the electrons flow to the electrode as well as reducing enzymes where electrons were effectively injected to the enzyme active site. In my talk, I will demonstrate how catalytic and thermodynamic parameters of the tethered enzymes have been dramatically changed upon their site-specific attachment to electrodes.