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De novo design of an UpConverting metalloProtein

Project description

New class of metalloproteins tailored for upconversion luminescence

Upconversion, the process by which two photons are converted into a single one having higher energy, has been observed in few materials, most notably those doped with lanthanide ions. Funded by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions programme, the UCLnProt project plans to design the first of their kind metalloproteins for upconversion. To this end, researchers will combine lanthanide complexes, which demonstrate excellent photophysical properties, with coiled coil scaffolds. These proteins, which are coiled together like the strands of a rope, can selectively bind to different lanthanide ions at defined locations and distances. Project work should help generate a new class of ligands, adding it to the toolbox of lanthanide coordination chemistry.


Herein, we propose to design de novo (“from scratch”) the first upconverting metalloprotein. This will be achieved by exploiting a new class of lanthanide coiled coils (LCC), to generate bimetallic derivatives. These will, for the first time, combine the attractive photophysical properties of Ln complexes, with de novo designed coiled coil scaffolds capable of selectively binding different Ln ions at well-defined and tuneable distances. This programme of work will provide a new strategy for unlocking the full potential of science at the interface of biology and inorganic chemistry, by combining previously unexplored ligands with traditional inorganic complexes, for applications beyond those offered by biology, such as upconversion. The complementary expertise of Dr Borghesani (bioinorganic chemistry and spectroscopy) and the supervisor Dr Peacock (metallopeptide design) offer the unique combination to realise the full potential of multimetallic LCCs, and will, in conjunction with two planned short secondments, provide Dr Borghesani with new and cutting-edge research training.



Net EU contribution
€ 212 933,76
B15 2TT Birmingham
United Kingdom

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West Midlands (England) West Midlands Birmingham
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 0,00