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Issue 10, 2021
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Cytosolic delivery of membrane-penetrating QDs into T cell lymphocytes: implications in immunotherapy and drug delivery

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Abstract

We report single-particle characterization of membrane-penetrating semiconductor quantum dots (QDs) in T cell lymphocytes. We functionalized water-soluble CdSe/CdZnS QDs with a cell-penetrating peptide composed of an Asp-Ser-Ser (DSS) repeat sequence. DSS and peptide-free control QDs displayed concentration-dependent internalization. Intensity profiles from single-particle imaging revealed a propensity of DSS-QDs to maintain a monomeric state in the T cell cytosol, whereas control QDs formed pronounced clusters. Single-particle tracking showed a direct correlation between individual QD clusters’ mobility and aggregation state. A significant portion of control QDs colocalized with an endosome marker inside the T cells, while the percentage of DSS-QDs colocalized dropped to 9%. Endocytosis inhibition abrogated the internalization of control QDs, while DSS-QD internalization only mildly decreased, suggesting an alternative cell-entry mechanism. Using 3D single-particle tracking, we captured the rapid membrane-penetrating activity of a DSS-QD. The ability to characterize membrane penetrating activities in live T cells creates inroads for the optimization of gene therapy and drug delivery through the use of novel nanomaterials.

Graphical abstract: Cytosolic delivery of membrane-penetrating QDs into T cell lymphocytes: implications in immunotherapy and drug delivery

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Article information


Submitted
24 Nov 2020
Accepted
04 Mar 2021
First published
04 Mar 2021

Nanoscale, 2021,13, 5519-5529
Article type
Paper

Cytosolic delivery of membrane-penetrating QDs into T cell lymphocytes: implications in immunotherapy and drug delivery

H. Jing, M. Pálmai, B. Saed, A. George, P. T. Snee and Y. S. Hu, Nanoscale, 2021, 13, 5519
DOI: 10.1039/D0NR08362C

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