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Mouse laser-induced choroidal neovascularization (mouse LCNV) recapitulates the "wet" form of human age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) is a known inflammatory biomarker, and it increases in the choroidal neovascular tissues characteristic of this experimental model. We have designed and constructed gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) functionalized with hairpin-DNA that incorporates an antisense sequence complementary to VCAM-1 mRNA (AS-VCAM-1 hAuNPs) and tested them as optical imaging probes. The 3' end of the hairpin is coupled to a near-infrared fluorophore that is quenched by the AuNP surface via Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET). Hybridization of the antisense sequence to VCAM-1 mRNA displaces the fluorophore away from the AuNP surface, inducing fluorescent activity. In vitro testing showed that hAuNPs hybridize to an exogenous complementary oligonucleotide within a pH range of 4.5-7.4, and that they are stable at reduced pH. LCNV mice received tail-vein injections of AS-VCAM-1 hAuNPs. Hyperspectral imaging revealed the delivery of AS-VCAM-1 hAuNPs to excised choroidal tissues. Fluorescent images of CNV lesions were obtained, presumably in response to the hybridization of AS-hAuNPs to LCNV-induced VCAM-1 mRNA. This is the first demonstration of systemic delivery of hAuNPs to ocular tissues to facilitate mRNA imaging of any target.
Gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) were functionalized for rapid binding of Acinetobacter baumannii (A. baumannii), a Gram-negative bacterium. AuNPs were functionalized with colistin (Col), a polycationic antibiotic, using a two-step self-assembly process, in which heterobifunctional polyethylene glycol (PEG) was used as a linker. Colistin was successfully conjugated to the AuNPs (Col-PEG-AuNP), as validated by dynamic light scattering (DLS) and proton nuclear magnetic resonance (H1 NMR). High angle annular dark field scanning transmission electron microscopy (HAADF-STEM) images, acquired simultaneously with X-ray energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) data, confirmed binding of Col-PEG-AuNPs to the cell envelope of A. baumannii. Results generated from a binding assay indicated that Col-PEG-AuNP complexation with A. baumannii occurred rapidly and reached half-maximum saturation in approximately 7 minutes, on average, for all A. baumannii strains evaluated. Quantitative measurement of the kinetics of Col-PEG-AuNP binding to A. baumannii is essential to inform the design of colistin-functionalized magnetic nanoparticles for magnetic separation of nanoparticle-bound A. baumannii.
Vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM-1) is an important inflammatory biomarker correlating with retinal disease progression. Thus, detection of VCAM-1 mRNA expression levels at an early disease stage could be an important predictive biomarker to assess the risk of disease progression and monitoring treatment response. We have developed VCAM-1 targeted antisense hairpin DNA-functionalized gold nanoparticles (AS-VCAM-1 hAuNP) for the real time detection of VCAM-1 mRNA expression levels in retinal endothelial cells. The AS-VCAM-1 hAuNP fluorescence enhancement clearly visualized the TNF-α induced cellular VCAM-1 mRNA levels with high signal to noise ratios compared to normal serum treated cells. The scrambled hAuNP probes were minimally detectable under same image acquisition conditions. Intracellular hAuNPs were detected using transmission electron microscopy (TEM) analysis of the intact cells. In addition, the AS-VCAM-1 hAuNP probes exhibited no acute toxicity to the retinal microvascular endothelial cells as measured by live-dead assay.
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Gold nanorods with varying aspect ratios have been utilized in recent years for a wide range of applications including vaccines, surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) substrates, and as medicinal therapeutic agents. The surfactant-directed seed mediated approach is an aqueous based protocol that produces monodisperse nanorods with controlled aspect ratios. However, an inherent problem with this approach is poor efficiency of gold conversion from HAuCl4 into nanorods. In fact only ∼15% of gold is converted, motivating the need for alternate synthetic protocols in order to make the process more scalable and efficient as gold nanorods progress toward commercial applications. In the current study, we have significantly improved this conversion by growing rods in several iterations of supernatant solutions that were previously discarded as waste. Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) data indicates ∼14% gold conversion per nanorod solution with a total recovery of ∼75%. Gold nanorods prepared in consecutive supernatant solutions generally have slightly increased aspect ratios and maintain stability and monodispersity as measured by UV-vis and TEM. The increased nanorod yield minimizes gold waste and results in a greener synthetic approach.
Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
We report a novel, low-resource malaria diagnostic platform inspired by the coffee ring phenomenon, selective for Plasmodium falciparum histidine-rich protein-II (PfHRP-II), a biomarker indicative of the P. falciparum parasite strain. In this diagnostic design, a recombinant HRP-II (rcHRP-II) biomarker is sandwiched between 1 μm Ni(II)nitrilotriacetic acid (NTA) gold-plated polystyrene microspheres (AuPS) and Ni(II)NTA-functionalized glass. After rcHRP-II malaria biomarkers had reacted with Ni(II)NTA-functionalized particles, a 1 μL volume of the particle-protein conjugate solution is deposited onto a functionalized glass slide. Drop evaporation produces the radial flow characteristic of coffee ring formation, and particle-protein conjugates are transported toward the drop edge, where, in the presence of rcHRP-II, particles bind to the Ni(II)NTA-functionalized glass surface. After evaporation, a wash with deionized water removes nonspecifically bound materials while maintaining the integrity of the surface-coupled ring produced by the presence of the protein biomarker. The dynamic range of this design was found to span 3 orders of magnitude, and rings are visible with the naked eye at protein concentrations as low as 10 pM, 1 order of magnitude below the 100 pM PfHRP-II threshold recommended by the World Health Organization. Key enabling features of this design are the inert and robust gold nanoshell to reduce nonspecific interactions on the particle surface, inclusion of a water wash step after drop evaporation to reduce nonspecific binding to the glass, a large diameter particle to project a large two-dimensional viewable area after ring formation, and a low particle density to favor radial flow toward the drop edge and reduce vertical settling to the glass surface in the center of the drop. This robust, antibody-free assay offers a simple user interface and clinically relevant limits of biomarker detection, two critical features required for low-resource malaria detection.
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a major cause of pneumonia and wheezing in infants and the elderly, but to date there is no licensed vaccine. We developed a gold nanorod construct that displayed the major protective antigen of the virus, the fusion protein (F). Nanorods conjugated to RSV F were formulated as a candidate vaccine preparation by covalent attachment of viral protein using a layer-by-layer approach. In vitro studies using ELISA, electron microscopy and circular dichroism revealed that conformation-dependent epitopes were maintained during conjugation, and transmission electron microscopy studies showed that a dispersed population of particles could be achieved. Human dendritic cells treated with the vaccine induced immune responses in primary human T cells. These results suggest that this vaccine approach may be a potent method for immunizing against viruses such as RSV with surface glycoproteins that are targets for the human immune response.
A technique for measuring the toxicity of nanomaterials using a murine model is described. Blood samples are collected via submandibular bleeding while urine samples are collected on cellophane sheets. Both biosamples are then analyzed by inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES) for nanotoxicity. Blood samples are further tested for immunological response using a standard Coulter counter. The major organs of interest for filtration are also digested and analyzed via ICP-OES, producing useful information regarding target specificity of the nanomaterial of interest. Collection of the biosamples and analysis afterward is detailed, and the operation of the technique is described and illustrated by analysis of the nanotoxicity of an injection of a modified tiopronin monolayer-protected cluster.
Early-stage detection is essential for effective treatment of pediatric virus infections. In traditional -immuno-PCR, a single antibody recognition event is associated with one to three DNA tags, which are subsequently amplified by PCR. In this protocol, we describe a nanoparticle-amplified immuno-PCR assay that combines antibody recognition of traditional ELISA with a 50-fold nanoparticle valence amplification step followed by amplification by traditional PCR. The assay detects a respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) surface fusion protein using a Synagis antibody bound to a 15 nm gold nanoparticle co-functionalized with thiolated DNA complementary to a hybridized 76-base Tag DNA. The Tag DNA to Synagis ratio is 50 to 1. The presence of virus particles triggers the formation of a "sandwich" complex comprised of the gold nanoparticle construct, virus, and a 1 μm antibody-functionalized magnetic particle used for extraction. Virus-containing complexes are isolated using a magnet, DNA tags released by heating to 95 °C, and detected via real-time PCR. The limit of detection of the nanoparticle-amplified immuno-PCR assay was compared to traditional ELISA and traditional RT-PCR using RSV-infected HEp-2 cell extracts. Nanoparticle-amplified immuno-PCR showed a ∼4,000-fold improvement in the limit of detection compared to ELISA and a fourfold improvement in the limit of detection compared to traditional RT-PCR. Nanoparticle-amplified immuno-PCR offers a viable platform for the development of an early-stage diagnostics requiring an exceptionally low limit of detection.
Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a three-dimensional optical imaging technique that has been successfully implemented in ophthalmology for imaging the human retina, and in studying animal models of disease. OCT can nondestructively visualize structural features in tissue at cellular-level resolution, and can exploit contrast agents to achieve molecular contrast. Photothermal OCT relies on the heat-producing capabilities of antibody-conjugated gold nanoparticles to achieve molecular contrast. A pump laser at the nanoparticle resonance wavelength is used to heat the nanoparticles in the sample, and the resulting changes in the index of refraction around the nanoparticles are detected by phase-sensitive OCT. Lock-in detection of the pump beam amplitude-modulated frequency and the detector frequency allow for high-sensitivity images of molecular targets. This approach is attractive for nondestructive three-dimensional molecular imaging deep (approximately 2 mm) within biological samples. The protocols described here achieve a sensitivity of 14 parts per million (weight/weight) nanoparticles in the sample, which is sufficient to differentiate EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor)-overexpressing cells from minimally expressing cells in three-dimensional cell constructs.
Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) in combination with electron tomography is widely used to obtain nanometer scale three-dimensional (3D) structural information about biological samples. However, studies of whole eukaryotic cells are limited in resolution and/or contrast on account of the effect of chromatic aberration of the TEM objective lens on electrons that have been scattered inelastically in the specimen. As a result, 3D information is usually obtained from sections and not from whole cells. Here, we use chromatic aberration-corrected TEM to record bright-field TEM images of nanoparticles in a whole mount macrophage cell. Tilt series of images are used to generate electron tomograms, which are analyzed to assess the spatial resolution that can be achieved for different vertical positions in the specimen. The uptake of gold nanoparticles coated with low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is studied. The LDL is found to assemble in clusters. The clusters contain nanoparticles taken up on different days, which are joined without mixing their nanoparticle cargo.