- Derivery, E.; Bartolami, E.; Matile, S.; Gonzalez-Gaitan, M. “Efficient Delivery of Quantum Dots into the Cytosol of Cells Using Cell-Penetrating Poly(disulfide)s” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2017, 139, 10172-10175
Quantum dots (QDs) are extremely bright, photostable, nanometer particles broadly used to investigate single molecule dynamics in vitro. However, the use of QDs in vivo to investigate single molecule dynamics is impaired by the absence of an efficient way to chemically deliver them into the cytosol of cells. Indeed, current methods (using cell-penetrating peptides for instance) provide very low yields: QDs stay at the plasma membrane or are trapped in endosomes. Here, we introduce a technology based on cell-penetrating poly(disulfide)s that solves this problem: we deliver about 70 QDs per cell, and 90% appear to freely diffuse in the cytosol. Furthermore, these QDs can be functionalized, carrying GFP or anti-GFP nanobodies for instance. Our technology thus paves the way toward single molecule imaging in cells and living animals, allowing to probe biophysical properties of the cytosol.