Targeted nuclear delivery using peptide-coated quantum dots

Chiung Wen Kuo, Di Yen Chueh, Narendra Singh, Fan Ching Chien, Peilin Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Core/shell quantum dots (CdSe/Zns) conjugated with various nuclear localization signaling (NLS) peptides, which could facilitate the transportation of quantum dots across the plasma membrane into the nucleus, have been utilized to investigate the uptake mechanism of targeted delivery. Because of their brightness and photostability, it was possible to trace the trajectories of individual quantum dots in living cells using both confocal and total internal reflection microscopes. We found that, when the quantum dots were added to a cell culture, the peptide-coated quantum dots entered the cell nucleus while the uncoated quantum dots remained in the cytoplasm. At 8 nM, most of the peptide coated quantum dots were found in the cytoplasm due to aggregation. However, at a lower concentration (0.08 nM), approximately 25% of the NLS peptide-coated quantum dots entered the cell nucleus. We also found that some quantum dots without NLS coating could also enter the nucleus, suggesting that the size of the quantum dots may play an important role in such a process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1073-1080
Number of pages8
JournalBioconjugate Chemistry
Issue number6
StatePublished - 15 Jun 2011


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