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Nano Lett. 2007 Sep;7(9):2718-23. Epub 2007 Jul 27.

Nanowire-based delivery of Escherichia coli O157 shiga toxin 1 A subunit into human and bovine cells.

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Department of Microbiology, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry and Department of Physics, University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho 83844, USA.


Silica nanowires (NWs) were used to introduce the Shiga toxin type 1 A subunit (StxA1) into cultured bovine and human epithelial cells. We extended technology developed in our laboratories that employs fibronectin (Fn) to induce integrin-mediated uptake of NWs by coating NWs with StxA1 and Fn. The bonding strengths of Fn and StxA1 to the surface of NWs were measured by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. This technique demonstrated complex interactions between Fn, StxA1, and the NWs. Neutral red cytotoxicity assays and field emission scanning electron microscopy confirmed that the NW-StxA1-Fn complexes were effectively internalized and caused cell death. This indicates that NWs can carry StxA1 and potentially other toxic or therapeutic agents into eukaryotic cells. Ongoing studies include improved functionalizing of NWs aimed at increasing internalization efficiency and substituting ligands for specific cell targeting.

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