Nat Commun. 2023 Sep 4;14(1):5364. doi: 10.1038/s41467-023-40870-1.
Biological membrane channels mediate information exchange between cells and facilitate molecular recognition. While tuning the shape and function of membrane channels for precision molecular sensing via de-novo routes is complex, an even more significant challenge is interfacing membrane channels with electronic devices for signal readout, which results in low efficiency of information transfer – one of the major barriers to the continued development of high-performance bioelectronic devices. To this end, we integrate membrane spanning DNA nanopores with bioprotonic contacts to create programmable, modular, and efficient artificial ion-channel interfaces. Here we show that cholesterol modified DNA nanopores spontaneously and with remarkable affinity span the lipid bilayer formed over the planar bio-protonic electrode surface and mediate proton transport across the bilayer. Using the ability to easily modify DNA nanostructures, we illustrate that this bioprotonic device can be programmed for electronic recognition of biomolecular signals such as presence of Streptavidin and the cardiac biomarker B-type natriuretic peptide, without modifying the biomolecules. We anticipate this robust interface will allow facile electronic measurement and quantification of biomolecules in a multiplexed manner.