Fluorescence lifetime imaging and FRET-induced intracellular redistribution of tat-conjugated quantum dot nanoparticles through interaction with a phthalocyanine photosensitiser

Elnaz Yaghini, Francesca Giuntini, Ian M. Eggleston, Klaus Suhling, Alexander M. Seifalian, Alexander J. MacRobert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

38 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The interaction of Tat-conjugated PEGylated CdSe/ZnS quantum dots (QD) with the amphiphilic disulfonated aluminium phthalocyanine photosensitiser is investigated in aqueous solution and in a human breast cancer cell line. In aqueous solution, the QDs and phthalocyanine form stable nanocomposites. Using steady-state and time-resolved fluorescence measurements combined with singlet oxygen detection, efficient Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) is observed with the QDs acting as donors, and the phthalocyanine photosensitiser, which mediates production of singlet oxygen, as acceptors. In cells, the Tat-conjugated QDs localise in lysosomes and the QD fluorescence lifetimes are close to values observed in aqueous solution. Strong FRET-induced quenching of the QD lifetime is observed in cells incubated with the nanocomposites using fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM). Using excitation of the QDs at wavelengths where phthalocyanine absorption is negligible, FRET-induced release of QDs from endo/lysosomes is confirmed using confocal imaging and FLIM, which is attributed to photooxidative damage to the endo/lysosomal membranes mediated by the phthalocyanine acceptor. Phototriggered release of TAT-conjugated quantum dots complexed with a phthalocyanine photosensitiser from endo/lysosomes. Membrane photooxidation and ensuing rupture is mediated by singlet oxygen generated via FRET to the phthalocyanine acceptor from the quantum dot (QD) donor.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)782-792
Number of pages11
JournalSmall
Volume10
Issue number4
Early online date13 Sep 2013
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26 Feb 2014

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