Near infrared bioluminescence resonance energy transfer from firefly luciferase - Quantum dot bionanoconjugates

Rabeka Alam, Liliana M. Karam, Tennyson L. Doane, Joshua Zylstra, Danielle M. Fontaine, Bruce R. Branchini, Mathew M. Maye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


The bioluminescence resonance energy transfer (BRET) between firefly luciferase enzymes and semiconductive quantum dots (QDs) with near infrared emission is described. The QD were phase transferred to aqueous buffers using a histidine mediated phase transfer route, and incubated with a hexahistidine tagged, green emitting variant of firefly luciferase from Photinus pyralis (PPyGRTS). The PPyGRTS were bound to the QD interface via the hexahistidine tag, which effectively displaces the histidine layer and binds directly to the QD interfaces, allowing for short donor-acceptor distances (∼5.5 nm). Due to this, high BRET efficiency ratios of ∼5 were obtained. These PPyGRTS-QD bio-nano conjugates were characterized by transmission electron microscopy, thermal gravimetric analysis, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and BRET emission studies. The final optimized conjugate was easily observable by night vision imaging, demonstrating the potential of these materials in imaging and signaling/sensing applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number495606
Issue number49
StatePublished - Dec 12 2014


  • FRET
  • bioluminescence
  • quantum dot
  • resonance energy transfer
  • self-assembly

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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