A Protein Rotaxane Controls the Translocation of Proteins Across a ClyA Nanopore

Annemie Biesemans, Misha Soskine, Giovanni Maglia

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Rotaxanes, pseudorotaxanes, and catenanes are supramolecular complexes with potential use in nanomachinery, molecular computing, and single-molecule studies. Here we constructed a protein rotaxane in which a polypeptide thread is encircled by a Cytolysin A (ClyA) nanopore and capped by two protein stoppers. The rotaxane could be switched between two states. At low negative applied potentials (<-50 mV) one of the protein stoppers resided inside the nanopore indefinitely. Under this configuration the rotaxane prevents the diffusion of protein molecules across the lipid bilayer and provides a useful platform for single-molecule analysis. High negative applied potentials (-100 mV) dismantled the interlocked rotaxane system by the forceful translocation of the protein stopper, allowing new proteins to be trapped inside or transported across the nanopore. The observed voltage threshold for the translocation of the protein stopper through the nanopore related well to the biphasic voltage dependence of the residence time measured for the freely diffusing protein stopper. We propose a model in which molecules translocate through a nanopore when the average dwell time decreases with the applied potential.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNano Letters
Publication statusPublished - 7-Aug-2015

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