Protection of Oxygen-Sensitive Enzymes by Peptide Hydrogel. Academic Article uri icon


  • Molecular oxygen (O2) is a highly reactive oxidizing agent and is harmful to many biological and industrial systems. Although O2 often interacts via metals or reducing agents, a binding mechanism involving an organic supramolecular structure has not been described to date. In this work, the prominent dipeptide hydrogelator fluorenylmethyloxycarbonyl-diphenylalanine is shown to encage O2 and significantly limit its diffusion and penetration through the hydrogel. Molecular dynamics simulations suggested that the O2 binding mechanism is governed by pockets formed between the aromatic rings in the supramolecular structure of the gel, which bind O2 through hydrophobic interactions. This phenomenon is harnessed to maintain the activity of the O2-hypersensitive enzyme [FeFe]-hydrogenase, which holds promising potential for utilizing hydrogen gas for sustainable energy applications. Hydrogenase encapsulation within the gel allows hydrogen production following exposure to ambient O2. This phenomenon may lead to utilization of this low molecular weight gelator in a wide range of O2-sensitive applications.

published proceedings

  • ACS Nano

author list (cited authors)

  • Ben-Zvi, O., Grinberg, I., Orr, A. A., Noy, D., Tamamis, P., Yacoby, I., & Adler-Abramovich, L.

citation count

  • 7

complete list of authors

  • Ben-Zvi, Oren||Grinberg, Itzhak||Orr, Asuka A||Noy, Dror||Tamamis, Phanourios||Yacoby, Iftach||Adler-Abramovich, Lihi

publication date

  • April 2021