Quantum biological electron transfer (ET) essentially involves in virtually all important biological processes such as photosynthesis, cellular respiration, DNA repair, cellular homeostasis, and cell death. However, there is no real-time imaging method to capture biological electron tunnelling in live cells to date. Here, we report a quantum biological electron tunnelling (QBET) junction and its application in real-time optical detection of QBET and the dynamics of ET in mitochondrial cytochrome c during cell life and death process. QBET junctions permit to see the behaviours of electron tunnelling through barrier molecules with different barrier widths. Using QBET spectroscopy, we optically capture real-time ET in cytochrome c redox dynamics during cellular apoptosis and necrosis in living cells. The non-invasive real-time QBET spectroscopic imaging of ET in live cell open a new era in life sciences and medicine by providing a way to capture spatiotemporal ET dynamics and to reveal the quantum biological mechanisms.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We greatly thank Prof. Jun Zhu from College of Chemistry and Chemical Engneering, Xiamen University for the help in chemical calculation, Prof. Wei E.I. Sha from College of Information Science & Electronic Engineering, Zhejiang University for fruitful discussion during the revision, Prof. Eun Chul Cho from Department of Chemical Engineering, Hanyang University for nanoparticle preparation and Ms. Sasha June Taylor for paper revision. This work was partially supported by the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (No. 21619323).
© 2019, The Author(s).