Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Lipoprotein nanoplatelets shed new light on biological molecules and cells

06.01.2016

An interdisciplinary research team from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has developed a new material composite derived from quantum dots. These lipoprotein nanoplatelets are rapidly taken up by cells and retain their fluorescence, making them particularly well-suited for imaging cells and understanding disease mechanisms.

"Quantum dots are being widely investigated due to their unique physical, optical, and electronic properties," explained Andrew M. Smith, an assistant professor of bioengineering at Illinois. "Their most important feature is bright, stable light emission that can be tuned across a broad range of colors. This has made them useful for diverse applications as imaging agents and molecular probes in cells and tissues and as light-emitting components of LEDs and TVs."


A new composite material has been made by entrapping crystalline sheets called nanoplatelets into lipoprotein nanoparticles. These lipoprotein nanoplatelets are brightly fluorescent and enter cells rapidly.

Credit: Sung Jun Lim, University of Illinois

"These studies are the first example of flat quantum dots, called nanoplatelets, in biological systems," said Smith, whose work is published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

"We have developed a unique nanoparticle that is flat, like a disc, and encapsulated within a biological particle. These are derived from quantum dots and they similarly emit light, however, they have a slew of interesting optical and structural properties because of their shape.

Their light absorbing and light emitting properties are closer those of quantum wells, which are thin-layers used to make lasers. We find that these particles uniquely enter cells very rapidly and we are using them as sensors in living cells."

"The new colloidal material is a hybrid between an inorganic quantum well and an organic nanodisc composed of phospholipids and lipoproteins," explained Sung Jun Lim, a postdoctoral fellow in Smith's research group and first author of the paper, "Lipoprotein Nanoplatelets: Brightly Fluorescent, Zwitterionic Probes with Rapid Cellular Entry."

"The phospholipids bind to the flat faces on the nanoplatelet and lipoproteins bind to curved edges to homogeneously entrap the particles in biocompatible materials. They have long-term stability in biological buffers and high salt solutions and are highly fluorescent, with brightness comparable to quantum dots when measured in a solution or at the single-molecule level in a microscope."

According to Smith, these particles are especially useful for single-molecule imaging, where quantum dots have made the biggest impact due to their unique combination of high light emission rate and compact size. Quantum dots have recently enabled the discovery of a host of new biological processes related to human health and disease.

"We think the new capabilities provided by nanoplatelets are valuable for imaging biological molecules and cells, but it was previously challenging to stabilize these nanocrystals in biological media because their unusual dimensions cause them to stick together, aggregate, and lose fluorescence. This new class of nanoplatelets solves these problems and they are stable under harsh biological conditions because they are encapsulated in lipoproteins.

"We expect that this new material composite will reveal, at the single-molecule level, how flat materials interact with biological systems," Smith added. "The unique finding of rapid cellular entry suggests that these materials may be immediately useful for cellular labeling applications to allow highly multiplexed spectral encoding of cellular identity so that we can track metastatic cancer cells in the body. Unique shapes of nanoparticles also have been found to be more efficient for delivering drugs to tumors compared with standard spherical particles, so we are exploring this as well.

###

This work is the result of a collaboration between Smith's lab and the research group of Aditi Das, an assistant professor of comparative biosciences at Illinois. Other co-authors of the research paper include Mohammad U. Zahid, Daniel R. McDougle, Liang Ma, and Aditi Das. The paper is available online: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jacs.5b11225.

Media Contact

Andrew M. Smith
smi@illinois.edu
217-300-5638

 @EngineeringAtIL

http://engineering.illinois.edu/ 

Andrew M. Smith | EurekAlert!

More articles from Interdisciplinary Research:

nachricht Bergamotene - alluring and lethal for Manduca sexta
21.04.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie

nachricht How to color a lizard: From biology to mathematics
13.04.2017 | Université de Genève

All articles from Interdisciplinary Research >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>