On July 8, the American Chemical Society (ACS) reported and promoted the research work on "rainbow color biomimetic fluorescent polypeptide nanoparticles" by Professor Qi Wei and Dr. Wang Yuefei from school of chemical engineering, Tianjin University. The society selects 3-4 newly published papers from all 67 journals of ACS every week for special topic push, which is the first time since the online edition of ACS was published in 2009, it is the first time that the column selects and reports the cutting-edge research papers completed by independent communication of Tianjin University in the form of theme news push.

Natural green fluorescent protein (GFP) in marine jellyfish is a kind of biomolecule that can emit green fluorescence. Chinese scientist Qian Yongjian was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2008 for his directed transformation of GFP. The polychromatic fluorescent protein developed by Qian Yongjian has been widely used in accurate dynamic imaging of fine structures in different scales of life system. However, for researchers with non biological background, the use of GFP requires high technical requirements, the operation is relatively complex, and the price is relatively expensive. Therefore, researchers are still trying to find cheaper and easier to use bioimaging fluorescent molecules.

GFP inspired rainbow fluorescent peptide design

In recent years, Qi Wei and Wang Yuefei's team have been carrying out the research work of new biomimetic fluorescent peptides. Recently, the "color toolbox" based on polychromatic peptide fluorescent nanoparticles developed by our research group can be used as a potential substitute for GFP.

In this work, the research team designed 12 kinds of short peptides containing phenylalanine, tyrosine, tryptophan or histidine. Through technical means, the peptide molecules were assembled into spherical fluorescent nanoparticles. After changing the sequence of peptide molecules, the peptide based nanoparticles could emit different colors of fluorescence, covering the whole visible light region including red, orange, yellow, green and blue It was named "Rainbow suit".

According to reports, under physiological conditions, biomimetic fluorescent polypeptides exhibit good biological activity, biocompatibility, light stability and targeting characteristics, and are easy to use and low cost, and have a good application prospect in the field of biological imaging and detection.