The July 24, 2019, issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society highlights the atomic structure of a DNA-templated cluster of eight silver atoms (Ag8). The image is based on work in the labs of Robert Dickson and Raquel Lieberman, professors in the Georgia Tech School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Jeffrey Petty, a chemistry professor in Furman University, Greenville, South Carolina. The study was published online in December and now appears in print.
"Multinuclear silver clusters encapsulated by DNA are known to fluoresce and otherwise harbor interesting photophysical properties, but their atomic organization has been poorly understood," Lieberman says.
The paper presents the first crystal structure of a fluorescent silver-DNA adduct, with eight silver atoms encased between two strands of DNA. The work shows a fully reciprocal relationship between the encapsulating, flexible DNA host and the silver cluster, with the eight atoms arrayed like the Big Dipper.
"These findings provide a guide for future studies to correlate DNA sequence, metal organization, and photophysical properties of these of these light-emitting, emissive biomolecule–metallocluster hybrids," Lieberman says.