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Atomic Force Microscopy Probing of Receptor–Nanoparticle Interactions for Riboflavin Receptor Targeted Gold–Dendrimer Nanocomposites

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journal contribution
posted on 17.12.2015, 01:08 by Amanda B. Witte, Abigail N. Leistra, Pamela T. Wong, Sophia Bharathi, Kevin Refior, Phillip Smith, Ola Kaso, Kumar Sinniah, Seok Ki Choi
Riboflavin receptors are overexpressed in malignant cells from certain human breast and prostate cancers, and they constitute a group of potential surface markers important for cancer targeted delivery of therapeutic agents and imaging molecules. Here we report on the fabrication and atomic force microscopy (AFM) characterization of a core–shell nanocomposite consisting of a gold nanoparticle (AuNP) coated with riboflavin receptor-targeting poly­(amido amine) dendrimer. We designed this nanocomposite for potential applications such as a cancer targeted imaging material based on its surface plasmon resonance properties conferred by AuNP. We employed AFM as a technique for probing the binding interaction between the nanocomposite and riboflavin binding protein (RfBP) in solution. AFM enabled precise measurement of the AuNP height distribution before (13.5 nm) and after chemisorption of riboflavin-conjugated dendrimer (AuNP–dendrimer; 20.5 nm). Binding of RfBP to the AuNP–dendrimer caused a height increase to 26.7 nm, which decreased to 22.8 nm when coincubated with riboflavin as a competitive ligand, supporting interaction of AuNP–dendrimer and its target protein. In summary, physical determination of size distribution by AFM imaging can serve as a quantitative approach to monitor and characterize the nanoscale interaction between a dendrimer-covered AuNP and target protein molecules in vitro.