Engineered Near-Infrared Fluorescent Protein Assemblies for Robust Bioimaging and Therapeutic Applications

Jingjing Li, Bo Li, Jing Sun, Chao Ma, Sikang Wan, Yuanxin Li, Robert Goestl, Andreas Herrmann, Kai Liu*, Hongjie Zhang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Fluorescent proteins are investigated extensively as markers for the imaging of cells and tissues that are treated by gene transfection. However, limited transfection efficiency and lack of targeting restrict the clinical application of this method rooted in the challenging development of robust fluorescent proteins for in vivo bioimaging. To address this, a new type of near-infrared (NIR) fluorescent protein assemblies manufactured by genetic engineering is presented. Due to the formation of well-defined nanoparticles and spectral operation within the phototherapeutic window, the NIR protein aggregates allow stable and specific tumor imaging via simple exogenous injection. Importantly, in vivo tumor metastases are tracked and this overcomes the limitations of in vivo imaging that can only be implemented relying on the gene transfection of fluorescent proteins. Concomitantly, the efficient loading of hydrophobic drugs into the protein nanoparticles is demonstrated facilitating the therapy of tumors in a mouse model. It is believed that these theranostic NIR fluorescent protein assemblies, hence, show great potential for the in vivo detection and therapy of cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2000964
Number of pages7
JournalAdvanced materials
Volume32
Issue number17
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr-2020

Keywords

  • engineered proteins
  • nanoparticles
  • NIR fluorescent imaging
  • tumor therapy
  • SURGICAL NAVIGATION
  • QUANTUM DOTS
  • HEAD
  • CETUXIMAB-IRDYE800CW
  • SPECIFICITY
  • TOXICITY
  • DISEASE
  • DESIGN
  • SAFETY
  • TUMORS

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