Author(s): XiuJuan Shi, Dan Li, Jing Xie, Shawn Wang, ZhaoQiang Wu, Hong Chen
The interactions between bovine serum albumin (BSA) and gold nanoparticles (AuNPs), and the conformational changes of BSA induced by this interaction, were investigated by UV-visible absorption spectroscopy, fluorescence spectroscopy, and Fourier transform infrared in combination with attenuated total reflection spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR). The critical adsorption density for preventing AuNP aggregation in 0.1 mol/L phosphate buffered saline (pH 7.2) was 23 BSA molecules per gold particle or 3.8×1012 BSA molecules/cm2. BSA bound to the AuNPs with high affinity (binding constant Ks=7.59×108 L/mol), and the intrinsic fluorescence of BSA was quenched by the AuNPs in accordance with the static quenching mechanism. Both fluorescence spectroscopy and ATR-FTIR showed that AuNPs induced conformational changes in BSA, which resulted in it becoming less compact and increased the polarity of the microenvironment around the tryptophan residue Trp-212.