On the selection and design of proteins and peptide derivatives for the production of photoluminescent, red-emitting gold quantum clusters

Balázs Söptei, Lívia Naszályi Nagy, Péter Baranyai, Ildikó Szabó, Gábor Mező, Ferenc Hudecz, Attila Bóta

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13 Citations (Scopus)


Novel pathways of the synthesis of photoluminescent gold quantum clusters (AuQCs) using biomolecules as reactants provide biocompatible products for biological imaging techniques. In order to rationalize the rules for the preparation of red-emitting AuQCs in aqueous phase using proteins or peptides, the role of different organic structural units was investigated. Three systems were studied: proteins, peptides, and amino acid mixtures, respectively. We have found that cysteine and tyrosine are indispensable residues. The SH/S-S ratio in a single molecule is not a critical factor in the synthesis, but on the other hand, the stoichiometry of cysteine residues and the gold precursor is crucial. These observations indicate the importance of proper chemical behavior of all species in a wide size range extending from the atomic distances (in the Au I -S semi ring) to nanometer distances covering the larger sizes of proteins assuring the hierarchical structure of the whole self-assembled system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-203
Number of pages9
JournalGold Bulletin
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2013



  • Gold clusters
  • Peptides
  • Photoluminescence
  • Proteins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Inorganic Chemistry

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