Generally applicable procedure for in situ formation of fluorescent protein-gold nanoconstructs
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionRSC Advances. 2012, 2 (31), 11704-11711. 10.1039/c2ra21931j
Small noble metal nanoclusters can be formed in situ by direct reduction and stabilization of a metal precursor by biomolecules such as proteins. Considering the diversity in amino acid composition of proteins, and hence their reductive ability, a general method for synthesis of gold nanoclusters using proteins is presented here. A range of proteins (bovine serum albumin, fibrinogen, α-lactalbumin, lysozyme, cytochrome c, myoglobin, β-lactoglobulin and α-chymotrypsin) have been studied, based on size, isoelectric point, flexibility and 3-dimensional structure. Results show protein-gold nanoconstructs with complex protein-specific photophysical properties. The effect on the 3-dimensional conformation of the proteins upon formation of gold nanoclusters and/or nanoparticles within the protein structure is also shown to be highly protein-dependent. A general mechanism for the formation of protein-gold nanoconstructs is proposed, based on charge density matching, yielding a high local concentration of the metal precursor on the protein structure which in turn can nucleate, grow and be stabilized by amino acid residues in the protein.