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Giant single molecule chemistry events observed from a tetrachloroaurate(III) embedded Mycobacterium smegmatis porin A nanopore

Abstract: Biological nanopores are capable of resolving small analytes down to a monoatomic ion. In this research, tetrachloroaurate(III), a polyatomic ion, is discovered to bind to the methionine residue (M113) of a wild-type α-hemolysin by reversible Au(III)-thioether coordination. However, the cylindrical pore geometry of α-hemolysin generates shallow ionic binding events (~5–6 pA) and may have introduced other undesired interactions. Inspired by nanopore sequencing, a Mycobacterium smegmatis porin A (MspA) nanopore, which possesses a conical pore geometry, is mutated to bind tetrachloroaurate(III). Subsequently, further amplified blockage events (up to ~55 pA) are observed, which report the largest single ion binding event from a nanopore measurement. By taking the embedded Au(III) as an atomic bridge, the MspA nanopore is enabled to discriminate between different biothiols from single molecule readouts. These phenomena suggest that MspA is advantageous for single molecule chemistry investigations and has applications as a hybrid biological nanopore with atomic adaptors.

Nature Communications volume 10, Article number: 5668 (2019)

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