Silver Cluster Interactions with Tyrosine: Towards Amino Acid Detection

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Tyrosine (Tyr) is involved in the synthesis of neurotransmitters, catecholamines, thy-roid hormones, etc. Multiple pathologies are associated with impaired Tyr metabolism. Silver nanoclusters (Ag NCs) can be applied for colorimetric, fluorescent, and surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) detection of Tyr. However, one should understand the theoretical basics of interactions between Tyr and Ag NCs. Thereby, we calculated the binding energy (Eb ) between Tyr and Agnq (n = 1–8; q = 0–2) NCs using the density functional theory (DFT) to find the most stable complexes. Since Ag NCs are synthesized on Tyr in an aqueous solution at pH 12.5, we studied Tyr−1, semiquinone (SemiQ−1 ), and Tyr−2 . Ag32+ and Ag5+ had the highest Eb . The absorption spectrum of Tyr−2 significantly red-shifts with the attachment of Ag32+, which is prospective for colorimetric Tyr detection. Ag32+ interacts with all functional groups of SemiQ−1 (phenolate, amino group, and carboxylate), which makes detection of Tyr possible due to band emergence at 1324 cm−1 in the vibrational spectrum. The ground state charge transfer between Ag and carboxylate determines the band emergence at 1661 cm−1 in the Raman spectrum of the SemiQ−1 –Ag32+ complex. Thus, the prospects of Tyr detection using silver nanoclusters were demonstrated.

Original languageEnglish
Article number634
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - 6 Jan 2022

Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


  • Amino acid complexes with metals
  • Aromatic amino acid detection
  • Density functional theory
  • SERS
  • Silver nanoclusters
  • Tyrosine


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