Metal-induced self-assembly of peroxiredoxin as a tool for sorting ultrasmall gold nanoparticles into one-dimensional clusters†
Nanomanipulation of matter to create responsive, ordered materials still remains extremely challenging. Supramolecular chemistry has inspired new strategies by which such nanomaterials can be synthesized step by step by exploiting the self-recognition properties of molecules. In this work, the ring-shaped architecture of the 2-Cys peroxiredoxin I protein from Schistosoma mansoni, engineered to have metal ion-binding sites, is used as a template to build up 1D nanoscopic structures through metal-induced self-assembly. Chromatographic and microscopic analyses demonstrate the ability of the protein rings to stack directionally upon interaction with divalent metal ions and form well-defined nanotubes by exploiting the intrinsic recognition properties of the ring surfaces. Taking advantage of such behavior, the rings are then used to capture colloidal Ni2+-functionalized ultrasmall gold nanoparticles and arrange them into 1D arrays through stacking into peapod-like complexes. Finally, as the formation of such nano-peapods strictly depends on nanoparticle dimensions, the peroxiredoxin template is used as a colloidal cut-off device to sort by size the encapsulated nanoparticles. These results open up possibilities in developing Prx-based methods to synthesize new advanced functional materials.