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Proteins enriched in charged amino acids control the formation and stabilization of selenium nanoparticles in Comamonas testosteroni S44

Ding Xu, Lichen Yang, Yu Wang, Gejiao Wang, Christopher Rensing & Shixue Zheng

Elemental selenium nanoparticles (SeNPs) are useful in medicine, environmental remediation and in
material science. Biosynthesized SeNPs (BioSeNPs) by bacteria are cheap, eco-friendly and have a
lower cytotoxicity in comparison with chemically synthesized ones. Organic matters were found to
cap on the surface of BioSeNPs, but the functions were still not entirely clear. The purified BioSeNPs
were coated in a thick layer of organic substrates observed by transmission electron microscopy (TEM).
Fourier Transform Infrared (FT-IR) and quantitative detection of the coating agents showed that
one gram of purified BioSeNPs bound 1069 mg proteins, 23 mg carbohydrates and only very limited
amounts of lipids. Proteomics of BioSeNPs showed more than 800 proteins bound to BioSeNPs.
Proteins enriched in charged amino acids are the major factor thought to govern the formation process
and stabilization of BioSeNPs in bacteria. In view of the results reported here, a schematic model for the
molecular mechanism of BioSeNPs formation in bacteria is proposed. These findings are helpful for the
artificial green synthesis of stable SeNPs under specific condition and guiding the surface modification
of SeNPs for medicine application.



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