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Bioconjug Chem. 2007 Sep-Oct;18(5):1490-7. Epub 2007 Jul 13.

Peptide-conjugated gold nanorods for nuclear targeting.

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Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Biosciences, Georgia Institute of Technology, 901 Atlantic Drive, Atlanta, Georgia 30332, USA.


Resonant electron oscillations on the surface of noble metal nanoparticles (Au, Ag, Cu) create the surface plasmon resonance (SPR) that greatly enhances the absorption and Rayleigh (Mie) scattering of light by these particles. By adjusting the size and shape of the particles from spheres to rods, the SPR absorption and scattering can be tuned from the visible to the near-infrared region (NIR) where biologic tissues are relatively transparent. Further, gold nanorods greatly enhance surface Raman scattering of adsorbed molecules. These unique properties make gold nanorods especially attractive as optical sensors for biological and medical applications. In the present work, gold nanorods are covalently conjugated with a nuclear localization signal peptide through a thioalkyl-triazole linker and incubated with an immortalized benign epithelial cell line and an oral cancer cell line. Dark field light SPR scattering images demonstrate that nanorods are located in both the cytoplasm and nucleus of both cell lines. Single cell micro-Raman spectra reveal enhanced Raman bands of the peptide as well as molecules in the cytoplasm and the nucleus. Further, the Raman spectra reveal a difference between benign and cancer cell lines. This work represents an important step toward both imaging and Raman-based intracellular biosensing with covalently linked ligand-nanorod probes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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