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Issue 23, 2018
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The morphology and surface charge-dependent cellular uptake efficiency of upconversion nanostructures revealed by single-particle optical microscopy

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Abstract

The cellular uptake efficiency of nanostructures has been demonstrated to be highly dependent on the surface charge, size and shape although the cellular internalization process is still far from being well-understood. In this work, a series of NaYF4:Yb3+, Er3+ upconversion nanoparticles (UCNPs) with different morphologies and surface coatings were prepared to explore the influence of surface charge and morphology on the cellular internalization process with single-particle fluorescence microscopy. It is found that the higher the surface charge and larger the surface-to-volume ratio of the nanoparticles, the more efficient the cellular uptake will be. Particularly, the surface charge is demonstrated to be the primary influence factor for small sized nanoparticles on the cellular uptake process. By blocking the endocytosis routes with temperature modulation (from 37 to 4 °C) or introduction of chemical inhibitors (dynasore and genistein), multiplexed mechanisms are found to be involved in the cellular uptake process, including clathrin- and caveolae-mediated endocytosis, physical adhesion and penetration, and so on. Moreover, in the aspect of size effect, an energy-dependent endocytosis process plays a more important role for larger size particles. In short, this study presents a pattern of cellular internalization pathway for the nanoparticles with different morphologies and surface charges, which would provide useful information for the development of robust drug delivery systems.

Graphical abstract: The morphology and surface charge-dependent cellular uptake efficiency of upconversion nanostructures revealed by single-particle optical microscopy

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
22 Apr 2018
Accepted
17 May 2018
First published
18 May 2018

This article is Open Access
All publication charges for this article have been paid for by the Royal Society of Chemistry

Chem. Sci., 2018,9, 5260-5269
Article type
Edge Article

The morphology and surface charge-dependent cellular uptake efficiency of upconversion nanostructures revealed by single-particle optical microscopy

D. Zhang, L. Wei, M. Zhong, L. Xiao, H. Li and J. Wang, Chem. Sci., 2018, 9, 5260
DOI: 10.1039/C8SC01828F

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    [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) on behalf of the European Society for Photobiology, the European Photochemistry Association, and RSC.
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    [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry.

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