The preparation of gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) of high purity and stability remains a major challenge for biological applications. This paper reports a simple synthetic strategy to prepare water-soluble peptide-stabilized AuNPs. Reduced glutathione, a natural tripeptide, was used as a synthon for the growth of two peptide chains directly on the AuNP surface. Both nonpolar (tryptophan and methionine) and polar basic (histidine and dansylated arginine) amino acids were conjugated to the GSH-capped AuNPs. Ultracentrifugation concentrators with polyethersulfone (PES) membranes were used to purify precursor materials in each stage of the multi-step synthesis to minimize side reactions. Thin layer chromatography, transmission electron microscopy, UV-Visible, 1H-NMR, and fluorescence spectroscopies demonstrated that ultracentrifugation produces high purity AuNPs, with narrow polydispersity, and minimal aggregation. More importantly, it allows for more control over the composition of the final ligand structure. Studies under conditions of varying pH and ionic strength revealed that peptide length, charge, and hydrophobicity influence the stability as well as solubility of the peptide-capped AuNPs. The synthetic and purification strategies used provide a facile route for developing a library of tailored biocompatible peptide-stabilized AuNPs for biomedical applications.
Wu, R. H., Nguyen, T. P., Marquart, G. W., Miesen, T. J., Mau, T., & Mackiewicz, M. R. (2014). A facile route to tailoring peptide-stabilized gold nanoparticles using glutathione as a synthon. Molecules, 19(5), 6754-6775.