, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 597-606
Date: 11 Aug 2009

Combinatorial targeting and nanotechnology applications

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The development of improved methods for targeted cell detection is of general interest in many fields of research and drug development. There are a number of well-established techniques for the study and detection of biomarkers expressed in living cells and tissues. Many of them rely on multi-step procedures that might not meet ideal assay requirements for speed, cost, sensitivity, and specificity. Here we report and further validate an approach that enables spontaneous molecular assembly to generate biologically active networks of bacteriophage (phage) assembled with gold (Au) nanoparticles (termed Au-phage nanoshuttles). Here, the nanoshuttles preserve the cell binding and internalization attributes mediated by a displayed peptide targeted to a cell surface receptor. The organization of such targeted assemblies can be further manipulated to be used as a mutimodal detection assembly, and they can be characterized as fractal nanostructures by angle-dependent light scattering fractal dimension analysis. Targeted Au-phage nanoshuttles offer multiple functionalities for nanotechnology-based sensing and reporting, including enhanced florescence and improved contrast for darkfield microscopy.