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Covalent Amide-Bonded Nanoflares for High-Fidelity Intracellular Sensing and Targeted Therapy: A Superstable Nanosystem Free of Nonspecific Interferences

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journal contribution
posted on 26.05.2021, 22:31 by Jiling Zhang, Liangwei Lu, Zhi-Ling Song, Wenjuan Song, Zhuolin Fu, Qiqi Chao, Gao-Chao Fan, Zhuo Chen, Xiliang Luo
A nanoflare, a conjugate of Au nanoparticles (NPs) and fluorescent nucleic acids, is believed to be a powerful nanoplatform for diagnosis and therapy. However, it highly suffers from the nonspecific detachment of nucleic acids from the AuNP surface because of the poor stability of Au–S linkages, thereby leading to the false-positive signal and serious side effects. To address these challenges, we report the use of covalent amide linkage and functional Au@graphene (AuG) NP to fabricate a covalent conjugate system of DNA and AuG NP, label-rcDNA-AuG. Covalent coating of abundant amino groups (−NH2) onto the graphitic shell of AuG NP efficiently facilitates the coupling with carboxyl-labeled capture DNA sequences through simple, but strong, amide bonds. Importantly, such an amide-bonded nanoflare possesses excellent stability and anti-interference capability against the biological agents (nuclease, DNA, glutathione (GSH), etc.). By accurately monitoring the intracellular miR-21 levels, this covalent nanoflare is able to identify the positive cancer cells even in a mix of cancer and normal cells. Moreover, it allows for efficient photodynamic therapy of the targeted cancer cells with minimized side effects on normal cells. This work provides a facile approach to develop a superstable nanosystem showing promising potential in clinical diagnostics and therapy.