7_06/2011Nanotube Sensors: Selective Detection of Neurotoxin by Photoluminescent Peptide Nanotubes (Small 6/2011)

The cover image show self-assembled, photoluminescent peptide nanotubes that undergo a drastic quenching of their emission within a few seconds of exposure to paraoxon, a nitro-functionalized neurotoxin. Peptide-based nanotubes exhibit a strong photoluminescence by acting as a host matrix and an antenna for lanthanide complexes. The quenching of their photoluminescence occurs due to the interruption of cascaded-energy transfer from peptide nanotubes to lanthanide ions. Many neurotoxins inhibit the activity of acetylcholine esterase in the brain, leading to the termination of synaptic transmission in the central nervous system; they have been widely used as chemical warfare agents and pesticides. As a result, the development of sensing techniques for efficient detection of neurotoxins is critical for security and health. For more information please read the Communication “Selective Detection of Neurotoxin by Photoluminescent Peptide Nanotubes” by C. B. Park and co-workers, beginning on page 718. The assay platform developed provides high selectivity toward paraoxon among a variety of other compounds, the capability of which is attributed to the role of the nanotubes as a host matrix for lanthanide complexes.

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