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Research Letters in Nanotechnology
Volume 2008, Article ID 853253, 5 pages
Research Letter

Charge Transport Phenomena in Peptide Molecular Junctions

1CRO-IRCCS National Cancer Institute, 33081 Aviano, Italy
2Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine, College of Arts and Sciences, George Mason University, Manassas, VA 20110, USA
3Research and Development Center, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), 9460 Innovation Drive, Manassas, VA 20110, USA
4Department of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, School of Computational Sciences, George Mason University, Manassas, VA 20110, USA

Received 23 December 2007; Accepted 10 February 2008

Academic Editor: Federico Rosei

Copyright © 2008 Alessandra Luchini et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Inelastic electron tunneling spectroscopy (IETS) is a valuable in situ spectroscopic analysis technique that provides a direct portrait of the electron transport properties of a molecular species. In the past, IETS has been applied to small molecules. Using self-assembled nanoelectronic junctions, IETS was performed for the first time on a large polypeptide protein peptide in the phosphorylated and native form, yielding interpretable spectra. A reproducible 10-fold shift of the I/V characteristics of the peptide was observed upon phosphorylation. Phosphorylation can be utilized as a site-specific modification to alter peptide structure and thereby influence electron transport in peptide molecular junctions. It is envisioned that kinases and phosphatases may be used to create tunable systems for molecular electronics applications, such as biosensors and memory devices.