Redox enzymes, which catalyze reactions involving electron transfers in living organisms, are very promising components of biotechnological devices, and can be envisioned for sensing applications as well as for energy conversion. In this context, one of the most significant challenges is to achieve efficient direct electron transfer by tunneling between enzymes and conductive surfaces. Based on various examples of bioelectrochemical studies described in the recent literature, this review discusses the issue of enzyme immobilization at planar electrode interfaces. The fundamental importance of controlling enzyme orientation, how to obtain such orientation, and how it can be verified experimentally or by modeling are the three main directions explored. Since redox enzymes are sizable proteins with anisotropic properties, achieving their functional immobilization requires a specific and controlled orientation on the electrode surface. All the factors influenced by this orientation are described, ranging from electronic conductivity to efficiency of substrate supply. The specificities of the enzymatic molecule, surface properties, and dipole moment, which in turn influence the orientation, are introduced. Various ways of ensuring functional immobilization through tuning of both the enzyme and the electrode surface are then described. Finally, the review deals with analytical techniques that have enabled characterization and quantification of successful achievement of the desired orientation. The rich contributions of electrochemistry, spectroscopy (especially infrared spectroscopy), modeling, and microscopy are featured, along with their limitations.
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