Peptide mediated intracellular delivery of semiconductor quantum dots

Anshika Kapur, Malak Safi, Tatiana Domitrovic, Scott Medina, Goutam Palui, John E. Johnson, Joel Schneider, Hedi Mattoussi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


As control over the growth, stabilization and functionalization of inorganic nanoparticles continue to advance, interest in integrating these materials with biological systems has steadily grown in the past decade. Much attention has been directed towards identifying effective approaches to promote cytosolic internalization of the nanoparticles while avoiding endocytosis. We describe the use of NωV virus derived gamma peptide and a chemically synthesized anticancer peptide, SVS-1 peptide, as vehicles to promote the non-endocytic uptake of luminescent quantum dots (QDs) inside live cells. The gamma peptide is expressed in E. coli as a fusion protein with poly-his tagged MBP (His-MBP-γ) to allow self-assembly onto QDs via metal-histidine conjugation. Conversely, the N-terminal cysteine residue of the SVS-1 peptide is attached to the functionalized QDs via covalent coupling chemistry. Epi-fluorescence microscopy images show that the QD-conjugate staining is distributed throughout the cytoplasm of cell cultures. Additionally, the QD staining does not show co-localization with transferrin-dye-labelled endosomes or DAPI stained nuclei. The QD uptake observed in the presence of physical and pharmacological endocytosis inhibitors further suggest that a physical translocation of QDs through the cell membrane is the driving mechanism for the uptake.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationColloidal Nanoparticles for Biomedical Applications XII
EditorsMarek Osinski, Wolfgang J. Parak, Xing-Jie Liang
ISBN (Electronic)9781510605978
StatePublished - 2017
EventColloidal Nanoparticles for Biomedical Applications XII 2017 - San Francisco, United States
Duration: Jan 28 2017Jan 31 2017

Publication series

NameProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)1605-7422


OtherColloidal Nanoparticles for Biomedical Applications XII 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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