Authors: J. Alper, A. Wijaya, M. Crespo, L. DeFlores, A. Tokmakoff, K. Hamad-Schifferli
Affilation: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States
Pages: 206 - 209
Keywords: gold nanorod, ultra-fast laser, protein, conjugation, fluorescence, molecular machinery, control
Specific external control of biomolecular activity is a critical step in harnessing the power of nature’s molecular machinery. We propose and demonstrate one control method, a biomolecular activity switch. Since proteins are the primary macromolecule class responsible for natural molecular machinery, we focused our study on proteins. Taking advantage of the structure-function relationship well known in proteins, we propose to use denaturation as a deactivation mechanism. We can control the naturation state of a protein by conjugating it to a gold nanorod and irradiating the system with energy from an electromagnetic field. Here we investigate using the plasmon resonance of gold nanorods (10 nm diameter x 36 nm long) and ultrafast laser pulses as the field. We modeled the induction of heat in the nanorod and the transfer of that heat to conjugated proteins. Based on these models, we performed a series of preliminary experiments as a proof of concept of the biomolecular activity switch.