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Chem Biol. 2005 Mar;12(3):323-8.

Gold nanoparticles as a colorimetric sensor for protein conformational changes.

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Department of Chemistry, Stanford University, CA 94305, USA.


Spherical gold nanoparticles and flat gold films are prepared in which yeast iso-1-cytochrome c (Cyt c) is covalently bound to the gold surface by a thiol group in the cystein 102 residue. Upon exposure to solutions of different pH, bound Cyt c unfolds at low pH and refolds at high pH. This conformational change causes measurable shifts in the color of the coated nanoparticle solutions detected by UV-VIS absorption spectroscopy and in the refractive index (RI) of the flat gold films detected by surface plasmon resonance (SPR) spectroscopy. Both experiments demonstrate the same trend with pH, suggesting the use of protein-covered gold nanoparticles as a simple colorimetric sensor for conformational change.

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