Ultrasmall ATP-Coated Gold Nanoparticles Specifically Bind to Non-Hybridized Regions in DNA

Liat Katrivas, Asaf Ben-Menachem, Saloni Gupta, Alexander B. Kotlyar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Here we report the synthesis of ultrasmall (2 nm in diameter) ATP-coated gold nanoparticles, ATP-NPs. ATP-NPs can be enlarged in a predictable manner by the surface-catalyzed reduction of gold ions with ascorbate, yielding uniform gold nanoparticles ranging in size from 2 to 5 nm in diameter. Using atomic force microscopy (AFM), we demonstrate that ATP-NPs can efficiently and selectively bind to a short non-hybridized 5A/5A region (composed of a 5A-nucleotide on each strand of the double helix) inserted into a circular double-stranded plasmid, Puc19. Neither small (1.4 nm in diameter) commercially available nanoparticles nor 5 nm citrate-protected ones are capable of binding to the plasmid. The unique ability to specifically target DNA regions characterized by local structural alterations of the double helix can pave the way for applications of the particles in the detection of genomic DNA regions containing mismatches and mutations that are common for cancer cells.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3080
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 2023


  • AFM
  • DNA–nanoparticle conjugate
  • Puc19
  • TEM
  • gold nanoparticles

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Materials Science


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