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Controlling the Reactivity of Ampiphilic Quantum Dots in Biological Assays through Hydrophobic Assembly of Custom PEG Derivatives

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journal contribution
posted on 16.07.2008, 00:00 by Michael R. Warnement, Ian D. Tomlinson, Jerry C. Chang, Michael A. Schreuder, Courtney M. Luckabaugh, Sandra J. Rosenthal
Modifications of the quantum dot (QD) surface are routinely performed via covalent biomolecule attachment, and poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) derivatization has previously been shown to limit nonspecific cellular interactions of QD probes. Attempts to functionalize ampiphilic QDs (AMP-QDs) with custom PEG derivatives having a hydrophobic terminus resulted in self-assembly of these PEG ligands to the AMP-QD surface in the absence of covalent coupling reagents. We demonstrate, via electrophoretic characterization techniques, that these self-assembled PEG-QDs exhibit improved passivation in biological environments and are less susceptible to unwanted protein adsorption to the QD surface. We highlight the artifactual fluorescent response protein adsorption can cause in biological assays, and discuss considerations for improved small molecule presentation to facilitate specific QD interactions.