Towards the identification of the gold binding region within trypsin stabilized nanoclusters using microwave synthesis routes†
Elucidating the location of stabilized nanoclusters within their protein hosts is an existing challenge towards the optimized development of functional protein-nanoclusters. While nanoclusters of various metal compositions can be readily synthesized within a wide array of protein hosts and exhibit tailorable properties, the inability to identify the cluster stabilization region prevents controllable property manipulation of both metallic and protein components. Additionally, the ability to synthesize protein-nanoclusters in a consistent and high-throughput fashion is also highly desirable. In this effort, trypsin stabilized gold nanoclusters are synthesized through standard and microwave-enabled methodologies to determine the impact of processing parameters on the materials physical and functional properties. Density functional theory simulations are employed to localize high probability regions within the trypsin enzyme for Au25 cluster stabilization, which reveal that cluster location is likely within close proximity of the trypsin active region. Trypsin activity measurements support our findings from DFT, as trypsin enzymatic activity is eliminated following cluster growth and stabilization. Moreover, studies on the reactivity of Au NCs and synchrotron characterization measurements further reveal that clusters made by microwave-based techniques exhibit slight structural differences to those made via standard methodologies, indicating that microwave-based syntheses largely maintain the native structural attributes despite the faster synthetic conditions. Overall, this work illustrates the importance of understanding the connections between synthetic conditions, atomic-scale structure, and materials properties that can be potentially used to further tune the properties of metal cluster-protein materials for future applications.
- This article is part of the themed collections: Nanoscale Emerging Investigators and Editor’s Choice: Single-atom and nanocluster catalysis