DNA Scaffolded Silver Clusters: A Critical Study

Sengupta, Bidisha; Corley, Christa; Cobb, Keith; Saracino, Anthony; Jockusch, Steffen

Fluorescent silver nanoclusters (Ag-NCs) are in prominence as novel sensing materials due to their biocompatibility, photostability, and molecule-like optical properties. The present work is carried out on an array (17 sequences) of 16 bases long cytosine rich, single stranded DNA templates 5′-C3XiC3XiiC3XiiiC3Xiv-3′ where i, ii, iii, iv correspond to T/G/C deoxynucleobases (with default base A). Among all the oligonucleotides, a sequence C3AC3AC3TC3G (3T4G) has been identified, which grows three different near-infrared-emitting NC species with absorption/emission maxima at ~620/700 (species I), 730/800 (species II), and 830 (Species III) nm, respectively. The nature of the spectral profiles, along with relevant parameters namely absorption maximum (λmaxabsλabsmax), emission maximum (λmaxemλemmax), anisotropy (r), lifetime (ττ), circular dichroism spectral data are used to understand the microenvironments of the fluorescent NC species I, II, and III. DNA:Ag stiochiometric, pH and solvent dependent studies proved that i-motif scaffolds with different folding topologies are associated with the growth of these three species and a certain concentration of silver and H+ favor the growth of species III. Size exclusion chromatographic measurements provided similar indications that a folded, more compact, classic i-motif template is associated with the formation of the longer NIR (~830 nm) absorbing species. This study provides a more definitive approach to design and obtain a targeted DNA templated Ag-NC with required emission properties for biophysical and cellular applications.


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June 21, 2017