Intein-mediated site-specific conjugation of Quantum Dots to proteins in vivo
Andreou, Maria I.
Skourides, Paris A.
SourceJournal of Nanobiotechnology
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We describe an intein based method to site-specifically conjugate Quantum Dots (QDs) to target proteins in vivo. This approach allows the covalent conjugation of any nanostructure and/or nanodevice to any protein and thus the targeting of such material to any intracellular compartment or signalling complex within the cells of the developing embryo. We genetically fused a pleckstrin-homology (PH) domain with the N-terminus half of a split intein (IN). The C-terminus half (I) of the intein was conjugated to QDs in vitro. IC-QD's and RNA encoding PH-IN were microinjected into Xenopus embryos. In vivo intein-splicing resulted in fully functional QD-PH conjugates that could be monitored in real time within live embryos. Use of Near Infra Red (NIR)-emitting QDs allowed monitoring of QD-conjugates within the embryo at depths where EGFP is undetectable demonstrating the advantages of QD's for this type of experiment. In conclusion, we have developed a novel in vivo methodology for the site-specific conjugation of QD's and other artificial structures to target proteins in different intracellular compartments and signaling complexes. © 2009 Charalambous et allicensee BioMed Central Ltd.
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