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Imaging Inward and Outward Trafficking of Gold Nanoparticles in Whole Animals

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journal contribution
posted on 19.02.2016, 16:03 by Valentina Marchesano, Yulan Hernandez, Willi Salvenmoser, Alfredo Ambrosone, Angela Tino, Bert Hobmayer, Jesus M de la Fuente, Claudia Tortiglione
Gold nanoparticles have emerged as novel safe and biocompatible tools for manifold applications, including biological imaging, clinical diagnostics, and therapeutics. The understanding of the mechanisms governing their interaction with living systems may help the design and development of new platforms for nanomedicine. Here we characterized the dynamics and kinetics of the events underlying the interaction of gold nanoparticles with a living organism, from the first interaction nanoparticle/cell membrane, to the intracellular trafficking and final extracellular clearance. By treating a simple water invertebrate (the cnidarian Hydra polyp) with functionalized gold nanoparticles, multiple inward and outward routes were imaged by ultrastructural analyses, including exosomes as novel undescribed carriers to shuttle the nanoparticles in and out the cells. From the time course imaging a highly dynamic picture emerged in which nanoparticles are rapidly internalized (from 30 min onward), recruited into vacuoles/endosome (24 h onward), which then fuse, compact and sort out the internalized material either to storage vacuoles or to late-endosome/lysosomes, determining almost complete clearance within 48 h from challenging. Beside classical routes, new portals of entry/exit were captured, including exosome-like structures as novel undescribed nanoparticle shuttles. The conservation of the endocytic/secretory machinery through evolution extends the value of our finding to mammalian systems providing dynamics and kinetics clues to take into account when designing nanomaterials to interface with biological entities.

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