Guest Molecule-Mediated Energy Harvesting in a Conformationally Sensitive Peptide-Metal Organic Framework

Yu Chen, Sarah Guerin, Hui Yuan, Joseph O'Donnell, Bin Xue, Pierre Andre Cazade, Ehtsham Ul Haq, Linda J.W. Shimon, Sigal Rencus-Lazar, Syed A.M. Tofail, Yi Cao, Damien Thompson, Rusen Yang, Ehud Gazit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The apparent piezoelectricity of biological materials is not yet fully understood at the molecular level. In particular, dynamic noncovalent interactions, such as host-guest binding, are not included in the classical piezoelectric model, which limits the rational design of eco-friendly piezoelectric supramolecular materials. Here, inspired by the conformation-dependent mechanoresponse of the Piezo channel proteins, we show that guest-host interactions can amplify the electromechanical response of a conformationally mobile peptide metal-organic framework (MOF) based on the endogenous carnosine dipeptide, demonstrating a new type of adaptive piezoelectric supramolecular material. Density functional theory (DFT) predictions validated by piezoresponse force microscopy (PFM) measurements show that directional alignment of the guest molecules in the host carnosine-zinc peptide MOF channel determines the macroscopic electromechanical properties. We produce stable, robust 1.4 V open-circuit voltage under applied force of 25 N with a frequency of 0.1 Hz. Our findings demonstrate that the regulation of host-guest interactions could serve as an efficient method for engineering sustainable peptide-based power generators.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3468-3476
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2 Mar 2022


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