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