Receptor-Targeted Luminescent Silver Bionanoparticles

Anton Bunschoten, Patrick T.K. Chin, Tessa Buckle, Marte van der Linden, Arjan Barendregt, Marcel A. Verheijen, Fijs W.B. van Leeuwen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Luminescent Ag nanoclusters (Ag-NC) provide the next generation in bionanoparticles, wherein the luminescence (650 nm) and large Stokes shift of these inorganic nanoclusters are favorable for biological imaging. By combining these characteristics with those of human serum albumin (HSA; a protein capable of binding multiple endo- and exogenous compounds), the Ag nanoclusters can be shielded from the environment and functionalized with (receptor) targeting moieties. Encapsulation of the 1.5 nm Ag nanoclusters by HSA resulted in a threefold increase in luminescence intensity and a twofold increase of the luminescence lifetime (1.7 vs. 3.6 µs). To exemplify the potential of this targeted concept, we functionalized HSA-Ag nanoparticles with chemokine receptor 4 (CXCR4) targeting peptides [Ac-TZ14011(CO2H)]. The resulting Ac-TZ14011-HSA-Ag nanoparticles demonstrated specific binding to CXCR4-overexpressing tumor cells. Upon exposure to (ambient) light, particle-functionalized tumor cells were killed. Combined, these experiments illustrate that HSA-Ag nanoparticles may have a potential in biological imaging and possibly even in targeted theranostic applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3030-3035
JournalEuropean Journal of Inorganic Chemistry
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Bioinorganic chemistry
  • Drug delivery
  • Imaging agents
  • Medicinal chemistry
  • Nanoparticles
  • Silver


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