Unraveling the Interaction of Silver Nanoparticles with Mammalian and Bacterial DNA

J Phys Chem B. 2016 Jun 23;120(24):5313-24. doi: 10.1021/acs.jpcb.6b01586. Epub 2016 Jun 13.


The focus of this study was to understand and unravel the interaction of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) with different types of Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), mammalian and bacterial, having different base pair compositions. Binding of spherical silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) to Calf thymus (CT) DNA, Escherichia coli (EC) DNA and Micrococcus lysodeikticus (ML) DNA has been studied to gain insights into their mode of interaction and specificity. Interaction of AgNPs with synthetic DNA has also been carried out. On the basis of absorption, thermal melting, isothermal calorimetry and viscosity studies, we could establish the mode of binding and specificity of the synthesized silver nanoparticles with mammalian and bacterial DNA. Thermal melting (Tm) studies indicated a decrease in the Tm of all the DNAs, confirming the destabilization of DNA stacks on interaction with AgNPs. Comparative interaction studies with single stranded (ss) and double stranded (ds) DNAs further confirmed the specificity of the particles toward ds DNA. On the basis of the results we could confirm that the synthesized AgNPs could be used for selective detection of DNA through their DNA binding mechanism. In addition, the AgNPs-DNA complexes exhibited distinct differences in the SERS spectra making it an interesting SERS platform for identifying ds DNA. The optical and physical properties of AgNPs help in differentiating the DNAs of different base pair compositions through their binding affinity and specificity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calorimetry
  • Cattle
  • Circular Dichroism
  • DNA / chemistry*
  • DNA, Bacterial / chemistry*
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Metal Nanoparticles / chemistry*
  • Micrococcus / genetics
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission
  • Particle Size
  • Silver / chemistry*
  • Spectrophotometry
  • Thermodynamics
  • Transition Temperature
  • Viscosity


  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Silver
  • DNA
  • calf thymus DNA