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SERS study of transformation of phenylalanine to tyrosine under particle irradiation.
Jingjing Zhang, Qing Huang, Guohua Yao, Zhigang Ke, Hong Zhang, Yilin Lu. SERS study of transformation of phenylalanine to tyrosine under particle irradiation.

Journal of Molecular Structure,2014,1072,195-202.

Abstract: Surface enhanced Raman scattering or spectroscopy (SERS) is a very powerful analytical tool which has been widely applied in many scientific research and application fields. It is therefore also very intriguing for us to introduce SERS technique in the radiobiological research, where in many cases only a very few of biomolecules are subjected to changes which however can lead to significant biological effects. The radiation induced biochemical reactions are normally very sophisticated with different substances produced in the system, so currently it is still a big challenge for SERS to analyze such a mixture system which contains multiple analytes. In this context, this work aimed to establish and consolidate the feasibility of SERS as an effective tool in radiation chemistry, and this purpose, we employed SERS as a sensitive probe to a known process, namely, the oxidation of phenylalanine (Phe) under particle irradiation, where the energetic particles were obtained from either plasma discharge or electron-beam. During the irradiation, three types of tyrosine (Tyr), namely, p-Tyr, m-Tyr and o-Tyr were produced, and all these tyrosine isomers together with Phe could be identified and measured based on the SERS spectral analysis of the corresponding enhanced characteristic signals, namely, 1002 cm_1 for Phe, 1161 cm_1 for p-Tyr, 990 cm_1 for m-Tyr, and 970 cm_1 for o-Tyr, respectively. The estimation of the quantities of different tyrosine isomers were also given and verified by conventional method such as high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). As for comparison of different ways of particle irradiation, our results also indicated that electron-beam irradiation was more efficient for converting Phe into Tyr than plasma discharge treatment, confirming the role of hydroxyl radicals in the Phe–Tyr conformation. Therefore, our work has not only demonstrated that SERS can be successfully applied in the radiobiological study, but also given insights into the mechanism for the interaction between particle radiation and biological systems.