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 Fighting myocardial infarction with nanoparticle tandems
04.12.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht Virtual Reality for Bacteria
01.12.2017 | Institute of Science and Technology Austria

All articles from Interdisciplinary Research >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Engineers program tiny robots to move, think like insects

15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

One in 5 materials chemistry papers may be wrong, study suggests

15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences

New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists

15.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>