A comparison of gold nanoparticle surface co-functionalization approaches using Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) and the effect on stability, non-specific protein adsorption and internalization

Emma Harrison, James R. Nicol, Manuel Macias-Montero, George Burke, Jonathan A. Coulter, Brian Meenan, Dorian Dixon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

To create clinically useful gold nanoparticle (AuNP) based cancer therapeutics it is necessary to co-functionalize the AuNP surface with a range of moieties; e.g. Polyethylene Glycol (PEG), peptides and drugs. AuNPs can be functionalized by creating either a mixed monolayer by attaching all the moieties directly to the surface using thiol chemistry, or by binding groups to the surface by means of a bifunctional polyethylene glycol (PEG) linker. The linker methodology has the potential to enhance bioavailability and the amount of functional agent that can be attached. While there is a large body of published work using both surface arrangements independently, the impact of attachment methodology on stability, non-specific protein adsorption and cellular uptake is not well understood, with no published studies directly comparing the two most frequently employed approaches. This paper compares the two methodologies by synthesizing and characterizing PEG and Receptor Mediated Endocytosis (RME) peptide co-functionalized AuNPs prepared using both the mixed monolayer and linker approaches. Successful attachment of both PEG and RME peptide using the two methods was confirmed using Dynamic Light Scattering, Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy and gel electrophoresis. It was observed that while the ‘as synthesized’ citrate capped AuNPs agglomerated under physiological salt conditions, all the mixed monolayer and PEG linker capped samples remained stable at 1 M NaCl, and were stable in PBS over extended periods. While it was noted that both functionalization methods inhibited non-specific protein attachment, the mixed monolayer samples did show some changes in gel electrophoresis migration profile after incubation with fetal calf serum. PEG renders the AuNP stable in-vivo however, studies with MDA‐MB‐231 and MCF 10A cell lines indicated that functionalization with PEG, blocks cellular uptake. It was observed that co-functionalization with RME peptide using both the mixed monolayer and PEG linker methods greatly enhanced cellular internalization compared to PEG capped AuNPs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)710-718
JournalMATERIALS SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING C-BIOMIMETIC AND SUPRAMOLECULAR SYSTEMS
Volume62
Early online date8 Feb 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2016

Keywords

  • Gold nanoparticles
  • surface co-functionalization
  • protein adsorption and internalization

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