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Cellular uptake of ultrasmall and uniform glutathione-coated gold nanoparticles

Wednesday, October 10, 2012 — Poster Session II

Noon – 2:00 p.m

Natcher Conference Center, Building 45




  • A.A. Sousa
  • J.T. Morgan
  • P.H. Brown
  • M.J. Kruhlak
  • R.D. Leapman


Gold nanoparticles constitute versatile platforms for the development of novel reagents in nanomedicine. They can be synthesized in a wide range of sizes and shapes, and can be functionalized with a variety of molecules including antibodies, peptides, drugs, etc. For applications in drug delivery, functional AuNPs must be generally capable of entering cells efficiently and reaching the cytosol and nucleus. In this regard, ultrasmall AuNPs with diameters below 2 nm are especially attractive, since they are expected to exhibit enhanced cytosolic and nuclear localization when compared to larger particles. Here we report the synthesis and characterization of an ultrasmall gold nanoparticle (< 2 nm) stabilized with glutathione. We characterized the size and uniformity of the glutathione-stabilized nanoparticles (AuGSH) by analytical ultracentrifugation and quantitative scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM). HeLa cells were then incubated with AuGSH and imaged by STEM without silver enhancement of the nanoparticles. This imaging approach enabled unbiased detection and quantification of individual ultrasmall AuGSH nanoparticles and aggregates in the cytoplasm and nucleus of the HeLa cells.

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