High Affinity Peptide Neurotoxin Quantum Dot Conjugates for Detecting Endogenous Targets in Live Cells and Ex Vivo Tissue
Orndorff, Rebecca Lee
This project focused upon advancing nanotechnology for applications in biological assays using highly fluorescent nanocrystals, quantum dots, with high affinity peptide neurotoxins as targeting molecules. Specifically, this work utilized three high affinity peptide neurotoxins, alpha-bungarotoxin, chlorotoxin, and dendrotoxin-1, as ligands to facilitate quantum dot detection of their respective biological targets. Two different quantum dot detection methodologies—direct ligand conjugation to the quantum dot surface, and exploitation of streptavidin quantum dot affinity for biotinylated ligands—were employed to label the endogenously expressed proteins. These methods were demonstrated to effectively detect endogenous cellular proteins in a living environment, and to label nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in mouse diaphragm tissue ex vivo. The results of this research effort support high affinity peptide neurotoxin quantum dot conjugate integration into biological assays.