Gold-coated plant virus as computed tomography imaging contrast agent

Alaa A. A. Aljabali, Mazhar S. Al Zoubi, Khalid M. Al-Batanyeh, Ali Al-Radaideh, Mohammad A. Obeid, Abeer Al Sharabi, Walhan Alshaer, Bayan AbuFares, Tasnim Al-Zanatil, Murtaza M. Tambuwala, Naveed Akbar, David J. Evans

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Chemical modification of the surface of viruses, both the interior and the exterior, imparts new functionalities, that have potential applications in nanomedicine. In this study, we developed novel virus-based nanomaterials as a contrast agent for computed tomography (CT) imaging in vitro. The gold-coated cowpea mosaic virus (Au-CPMV) particles were generated by the electrostatic adsorption of positively charged electrolyte on the virus capsid with the subsequent incubation and reduction of anionic gold complexes. Au-CPMV particles as a CT contrast agent offer a fast scan time (less than 2 min), low cost, and biocompatibility and allow for high-resolution imaging with ca. 150 Hounsfield units (HU). The Au-CPMV surface was further modified allowing for the incorporation of targeting molecules of specific cell types.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1983-1993
Number of pages11
JournalBeilstein Journal of Nanotechnology
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 7 Oct 2019


  • Biomedical imaging
  • Computed tomography (CT)
  • Gold
  • Nanotechnology
  • Targeting
  • Viruses


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