American Chemical Society
bc100114q_si_001.pdf (2.62 MB)

Bioconjugation of Hydroxylated Semiconductor Nanocrystals and Background-Free Biomolecule Detection

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journal contribution
posted on 2010-07-21, 00:00 authored by Yongwook Kim, Wonjung Kim, Hye-Joo Yoon, Seung Koo Shin
Semiconductor nanocrystals emerge as fluorescent bioprobes for long-term imaging and multiplexed assays; however, there is a challenge of making nanocrystals biocompatible without nonspecific bindings to background molecules. Here, we report the bioconjugation of small-sized, hydroxylated nanocrystals, enabling highly sensitive detection of various biomolecules with little or no nonspecific binding. Zinc-blende CdSe/ZnS nanocrystals were passivated with 3-mercapto-1-propanol (MPO) and activated to amine-reactive succinimidyl carbonate derivatives and then covalently linked to amine-functionalized biomolecules, such as biotin, DNA, and hemagglutinin peptide, by forming a carbamate linkage. Tris(3-hydroxypropyl)phosphine was added to stabilize the zinc−thiolate linkage on nanocrystals. For comparison, CdSe/ZnS nanocrystals were passivated with 3-mercaptopropionic acid (MPA) and conjugated with aminated biomolecules. Photoluminescence properties of organic, water-soluble, and bioconjugated nanocrystals were characterized. Significantly, the bioconjugates of hydroxylated (CdSe/ZnS−MPO) nanocrystals exhibited brighter photoluminescence with longer lifetimes than those of carboxylated (CdSe/ZnS−MPA) nanocrystals. Specific and nonspecific interactions between nanocrystals and biomolecules were examined by incubating nanocrystal−bioconjugates with avidin−agarose beads, anti-hemagglutinin affinity matrix, DNA glass slide, or avidin glass slide. CdSe/ZnS−MPO nanocrystals showed little or no nonspecific binding to both agarose beads and glass slides, whereas CdSe/ZnS−MPA nanocrystals exhibited significant nonspecific binding due to the carboxyl−amine interactions. Notably, CdSe/ZnS−MPO bioconjugates yield about 20 times brighter images than CdSe/ZnS−MPA bioconjugates in both DNA hybridization and biotin−streptavidin binding. Hydroxylated nanocrystals stabilized by hydroxyphosphine are small, bright, and photostable in physiological conditions, and their bioconjugates afford background-free detection of specific biomolecular interactions, positioning them for an ideal fluorescent probe to biological settings.