A team of Chinese and US chemists has developed a set of tri-functional nanospheres that can monitor cell death.
A team of Chinese and US chemists has developed a set of tri-functional nanospheres that can monitor cell death. The development could pave the way to new biofunctionalised smart nanospheres with biomedical applications.
Fluorescent and magnetic properties are often combined on single nanospheres for use in biomedical fields. Now a team of researchers, led by Dai-Weng Pang from Wuhan University in China, has functionalised such nanospheres to make them capable of isolating cells showing markers of programmed cell death (apoptosis). This can be a useful indicator of several diseases such as AIDS and chronic hepatitis, when excessive apoptosis occurs.
The chemists attached the covalent protein complex annexin V-biotin to the nanospheres via the biotin unit. The annexin V unit was able to recognise the marker phosphatidylserine present on apoptotic cells. The researchers could then isolate the cells using a magnet and monitor them under fluorescent light.