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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Mar 13;109(11):4092-7. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1109131109. Epub 2012 Mar 2.

Gold nanoparticles as a platform for creating a multivalent poly-SUMO chain inhibitor that also augments ionizing radiation.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Medicine, Beckman Research Institute at City of Hope, 1500 East Duarte Road, Duarte, CA 91010, USA.


Protein-protein interactions mediated by ubiquitin-like (Ubl) modifications occur as mono-Ubl or poly-Ubl chains. Proteins that regulate poly-SUMO (small ubiquitin-like modifier) chain conjugates play important roles in cellular response to DNA damage, such as those caused by cancer radiation therapy. Additionally, high atomic number metals, such as gold, preferentially absorb much more X-ray energy than soft tissues, and thus augment the effect of ionizing radiation when delivered to cells. In this study, we demonstrate that conjugation of a weak SUMO-2/3 ligand to gold nanoparticles facilitated selective multivalent interactions with poly-SUMO-2/3 chains leading to efficient inhibition of poly-SUMO-chain-mediated protein-protein interactions. The ligand-gold particle conjugate significantly sensitized cancer cells to radiation but was not toxic to normal cells. This study demonstrates a viable approach for selective targeting of poly-Ubl chains through multivalent interactions created by nanoparticles that can be chosen based on their properties, such as abilities to augment radiation effects.

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