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J Am Chem Soc. 2014 Jul 23;136(29):10478-85. doi: 10.1021/ja505242c. Epub 2014 Jul 15.

In situ hybridization of superparamagnetic iron-biomolecule nanoparticles.

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Department of Chemistry, University of Waterloo , Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L3G1.


The increase in interest in the integration of organic-inorganic nanostructures in recent years has promoted the use of hybrid nanoparticles (HNPs) in medicine, energy conversion, and other applications. Conventional hybridization methods are, however, often long, complicated, and multistepped, and they involve biomolecules and discrete nanostructures as separate entities, all of which hinder the practical use of the resulting HNPs. Here, we present a novel, in situ approach to synthesizing size-specific HNPs using Fe-biomolecule complexes as the building blocks. We choose an anticancer peptide (p53p, MW 1.8 kDa) and an enzyme (GOx, MW 160 kDa) as model molecules to demonstrate the versatility of the method toward different types of molecules over a large size range. We show that electrostatic interaction for complex formation of metal hydroxide ion with the partially charged side of biomolecule in the solution is the key to hybridization of metal-biomolecule materials. Electrochemical deposition is then used to produce hybrid NPs from these complexes. These HNPs with controllable sizes ranging from 30 nm to 3.5 μm are found to exhibit superparamagnetic behavior, which is a big challenge for particles in this size regime. As an example of greatly improved properties and functionality of the new hybrid material, in vitro toxicity assessment of Fe-GOx HNPs shows no adverse effect, and the Fe-p53p HNPs are found to selectively bind to cancer cells. The superparamagnetic nature of these HNPs (superparamagnetic even above the size regime of 15-20 nm!), their biocompatibility, and the direct integration approach are fundamentally important to biomineralization and general synthesis strategy for bioinspired functional materials.

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