In protein film voltammetry, a redox enzyme is directly connected to an electrode; in the presence of substrate and when the driving force provided by the electrode is appropriate, a current flow reveals the steady-state turnover. We show that, in the case of a multicenter enzyme, this signal reports on the energetics and kinetics of electron transfer (ET) along the redox chain that wires the active site to the electrode, and this provides a new strategy for studying intramolecular ET. We propose a model which takes into account all the enzyme's redox microstates, and we prove it useful to interpret data for various enzymes. Several general ideas emerge from this analysis. Considering the reversibility of ET is a requirement: the usual picture, where ET is depicted as a series of irreversible steps, is oversimplified and lacks the important features that we emphasize. We give justification to the concept of apparent reduction potential on the time scale of turnover and we explain how the value of this potential relates to the thermodynamic and kinetic properties of the system. When intramolecular ET does not limit turnover, the redox chain merely mediates the driving force provided by the electrode or the soluble redox partner, whereas when intramolecular ET is slow, the enzyme behaves as if its active active site had apparent redox properties which depend on the reduction potentials of the relays. This suggests an alternative to the idea that redox chains are optimized in terms of speed: evolutionary pressure may have resulted in slowing down intramolecular ET in order to tune the enzyme's "operating potential".
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