Jump to main content
Jump to site search

Carbon quantum dots with intrinsic mitochondrial targeting ability for mitochondria-based theranostics


We prepare for the first time a novel type of fluorescent carbon quantum dots (or carbon dots, CDs) with intrinsic mitochondrial targeting ability by the one-step hydrothermal treatment of chitosan, ethylenediamine and mercaptosuccinic acid. The as-prepared CDs can realize mitochondrial imaging and mitochondria-targeted photodynamic cancer therapy without further modifications of other mitochondriotropic ligands (such as triphenylphosphine, TPP). Currently, many commercial mitochondrial probes suffer from the lack of modifiable groups, poor photostability, short tracking time, high cost and/or complicated staining procedures, which severely limit their applications in live-cell mitochondrial imaging. Compared with commercial mitochondrial probes such as MitoTrackers, our CDs exhibit remarkable features including ultra-simple and cost-effective synthesis, excellent photostability, facile storage, easy surface modification, wash-free and long-term imaging capability and negligible cytotoxicity. Besides, since mitochondria are susceptible to the reactive oxygen species generated during chemo-, photo- or radiotherapy, mitochondria-targeted cancer therapy has attracted much attention due to its satisfying anticancer efficiency. To test if the CDs can be used for mitochondria-targeted drug delivery, they were conjugated with a photosensitizer rose bengal (RB), the resultant CDs-RB nanomissiles achieved efficient cellular uptake and mitochondrial targeting/accumulation, realizing mitochondria-targeted photodynamic therapy. We believe that the CDs-based nanotheranostics holds great promise in various biomedical applications.

Back to tab navigation

Supplementary files

Publication details

The article was received on 23 May 2017, accepted on 24 Jun 2017 and first published on 27 Jun 2017

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7NR03658B
Citation: Nanoscale, 2017, Accepted Manuscript
  •   Request permissions

    Carbon quantum dots with intrinsic mitochondrial targeting ability for mitochondria-based theranostics

    X. Hua, Y. Bao, Z. Chen and F. Wu, Nanoscale, 2017, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C7NR03658B

Search articles by author