#1 Site-specific targeting of enterovirus capsid by functionalized monodisperse gold nanoclusters Link logo PDF logo

Marjomäki, Varpu;Lahtinen, Tanja;Martikainen, Mari;Koivisto, Jaakko;Malola, Sami;Salorinne, Kirsi;Pettersson, Mika;Häkkinen, Hannu

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America Volume 111, Issue 4

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Development of precise protocols for accurate site-specific conjugation of monodisperse inorganic nanoparticles to biological material is one of the challenges in contemporary bionanoscience and nanomedicine. We report here a successful site-specific covalent conjugation of functionalized atomically monodisperse gold clusters with 1.5-nm metal cores to viral surfaces. Water-soluble Au102(para-mercaptobenzoic acid)44 clusters, functionalized by maleimide linkers to target cysteines of viral capsid proteins, were synthesized and conjugated to enteroviruses echovirus 1 and coxsackievirus B3. Quantitative analysis of transmission electron microscopy images and the known virus structures showed high affinity and mutual ordering of the bound gold clusters on the viral surface and a clear correlation between the clusters and the targeted cysteine sites close to the viral surface. Infectivity of the viruses was not compromised by loading of several tens of gold clusters per virus. These advances allow for future investigations of the structure-function relations of enteroviruses and enterovirus-related virus-like particles, including their entry mechanisms into cells and uncoating in cellular endosomes.

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