Background: In this study, we show that the AFM method not only allows monitoring the morphological changes in biological structures fixed on the surface due to H-bonds, but also makes it possible to study the self-organization of metal complexes by simulating the active center of enzymes due to intermolecular H-bonds into stable nanostructures; the sizes of which are much smaller than the studied biological objects. The possible role of intermolecular hydrogen bonds in the formation of stable supramolecular metal complexes, which are effective catalysts for the oxidation of alkyl arenes to hydroperoxides by molecular oxygen and mimic the selective active sites of enzymes, was first studied by AFM.
Methods and Results: The formation of supramolecular structures due to intermolecular hydrogen bonds and, possibly, other non-covalent interactions, based on homogenous catalysts and models of active centers enzymes, heteroligand nickel and iron complexes, was proven by AFM-technique. AFM studies of supramolecular structures were carried out using NSG30 cantilever with a radius of curvature of 2 nm, in the tapping mode. To form nanostructures on the surface of a hydrophobic, chemically modified silicon surface as a substrate, the sample was prepared using a spin-coating process from solutions of the nickel and iron complexes. The composition and the structure of the complex Ni2(acac)(OAc)3·NMP·2H2O were determined in earlier works using various methods: mass spectrometry, UV- and IR-spectroscopy, elemental analysis, and polarography. Self-assembly of supramolecular structures is due to intermolecular interactions with a certain coordination of these interactions, which may be a consequence of the properties of the components themselves, the participation of hydrogen bonds and other non-covalent interactions, as well as the balance of the interaction of these components with the surface. Using AFM, approaches have been developed for fixing on the surface and quantifying parameters of cells.
Conclusion: This study summarizes the authors' achievements in using the atomic force microscopy (AFM) method to study the role of intermolecular hydrogen bonds (and other non-covalent interactions) and supramolecular structures in the mechanisms of catalysis. The data obtained from AFM based on nickel and iron complexes, which are effective catalysts and models of active sites of enzymes, indicate a high probability of the formation of supramolecular structures in real conditions of catalytic oxidation, and can bring us closer to understanding enzymes activity. With a sensitive AFM method, it is possible to observe the self-organization of model systems into stable nanostructures due to H-bonds and possibly other non-covalent interactions, which can be considered as a step towards modeling the active sites of enzymes. Methodical approaches of atomic force microscopy for the study of morphological changes of cells have been developed.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1742-4658.2009.07308.x] [PMID: 19754880]
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M800044200] [PMID: 18308719]
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M109.003590] [PMID: 19625248]