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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2008 Dec 5;377(1):35-40. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2008.09.077. Epub 2008 Sep 25.

Quantum dots for tracking cellular transport of lectin-functionalized nanoparticles.

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  • 1Department of Pharmaceutics, School of Pharmacy, Fudan University, Shanghai, PR China.


Successful drug delivery by functionalized nanocarriers largely depends on their efficient intracellular transport which has not yet been fully understood. We developed a new tracking technique by encapsulating quantum dots into the core of wheat germ agglutinin-conjugated nanoparticles (WGA-NP) to track cellular transport of functionalized nanocarriers. The resulting nanoparticles showed no changes in particle size, zeta potential or biobinding activity, and the loaded probe presented excellent photostability and tracking ability. Taking advantage of these properties, cellular transport profiles of WGA-NP in Caco-2 cells was demonstrated. The cellular uptake begins with binding of WGA to its receptor at the cell surface. The subsequent endocytosis happened in a cytoskeleton-dependent manner and by means of clathrin and caveolae-mediated mechanisms. After endosome creating, transport occurs to both trans-Golgi and lysosome. Our study provides new evidences for quantum dots as a cellular tracking probe of nanocarriers and helps understand intracellular transport profile of lectin-functionalized nanoparticles.

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