Surface-tunable bioluminescence resonance energy transfer via geometry-controlled ZnO nanorod coordination
The use of ZnO nanorods (NRs) as an effective coordinator and biosensing platform to create bioluminescence resonance energy transfer (BRET) is reported. Herein, a hydrothermal approach is applied to obtain morphologically controlled ZnO NRs, which are directly bound to luciferase (Luc) and carboxy-modified quantum dot (QD) acting as a donor-acceptor pair for BRET. BRET efficiency varies significantly with the geometry of ZnO NRs, which modulates the coordination between hexahistidine-tagged Luc (Luc-His6) and QD, owing to the combined effect of the total surface area consisting of (001) and (100) planes and their surface polarities. Unlike typical QD-BRET reactions with metal ions (e.g., zinc ions), a geometry-controlled ZnO NR platform can facilitate the design of surface-initiated BRET sensors without being supplemented by copious metal ions: the geometry-controlled ZnO NR platform can therefore pave the way for nanostructure-based biosensors with enhanced analytical performance.