pH Control of the Electrostatic Binding of Gold and Iron Oxide Nanoparticles to Tobacco Mosaic Virus

Langmuir. 2013 Feb 19;29(7):2094-8. doi: 10.1021/la3044126. Epub 2013 Feb 6.


We report the binding of nanoparticles (NPs) to wild type (unmodified) tobacco mosaic virus (TMV). The viruses are simply mixed with citrate-coated, negatively charged gold and iron oxide nanoparticles (IONPs) in acidic solution. This results in TMV decorated along its whole length by the respective particles. Such a decoration usually requires chemical modification or mutation of TMV (e.g., cysteine residues), but here we simply reduce TMV's natural negative charge by protonation. The particles are protonated to a much smaller extent. This charge-based mechanism does not operate for neutral particles.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Ferric Compounds / chemistry*
  • Gold / chemistry*
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Metal Nanoparticles / chemistry*
  • Tobacco Mosaic Virus*


  • Ferric Compounds
  • ferric oxide
  • Gold