Augmented interaction of multivalent arginine coated gold nanoclusters with lipid membranes and cells†
A library of ultra-small red photoluminescent gold nanoclusters (Au NCs) were synthesized with an increasing amount of positive charges provided by the addition of mono-, di- or trivalent-glutathione modified arginine peptides. We then studied how the arginine content impacted on the interaction of Au NCs with negatively charged artificial lipid bilayers and cell membranes. Results indicated that increasing the arginine content enhanced Au NCs' adsorption on lipid bilayers and on cell membranes followed by an increased cellular uptake in melanoma cells (COLO 829). Surprisingly, the presence of up to 40% serum for highly positively charged Au NCs did not hinder their interaction with lipid bilayers that contain glycolipids, suggesting a reduced opsonization of these Au NCs. In addition, these Au NCs are usually not toxic, except those with the highest arginine contents. Thus, controlled grafting of arginine peptides onto Au NCs is an elegant strategy to improve their binding and internalization by tumor cells while still keeping their anti-fouling properties.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Editors' Collection: Metals in Medicine