Immobilising hairpin DNA-conjugated distyryl boron dipyrromethene on gold@polydopamine core–shell nanorods for microRNA detection and microRNA-mediated photodynamic therapy†
A novel nanosystem of polydopamine-coated gold nanorods (AuNR@PDA) immobilised with molecules of hairpin DNA-conjugated distyryl boron dipyrromethene (DSBDP) was designed and fabricated for detection of microRNA-21 (miR-21). By using this oncogenic stimulus, the photodynamic effect of the DSBDP-based photosensitiser was also activated. In the presence of miR-21, the fluorescence intensity of the nanosystem was increased due to the dissociation of the conjugate from AuNR@PDA upon hybridisation. The intracellular fluorescence intensity triggered by intracellular miR-21 was in the order: MCF-7 > HeLa > HEK-293, which was in accordance with their miR-21 expression levels. The specificity was demonstrated by comparing the results with those of an analogue with a scrambled DNA sequence. The nanosystem could also result in miR-21-mediated photodynamic eradication of miR-21-overexpressed MCF-7 cells. After intravenous injection of the nanosystem into HeLa tumour-bearing nude mice, the fluorescence intensity of the tumour was increased over 24 h and was about 3-fold stronger than that of the scrambled analogue. Upon irradiation, the nanosystem could also greatly reduce the size of the tumour without causing significant tissue damage in the major organs. The overall results showed that this nanoplatform can serve as a specific and potent theranostic agent for simultaneous miR-21 detection and miR-21-mediated photodynamic therapy.