Quantum dot bioconjugates for imaging, labelling and sensing

Abstract

One of the fastest moving and most exciting interfaces of nanotechnology is the use of quantum dots (QDs) in biology. The unique optical properties of QDs make them appealing as in vivo and in vitro fluorophores in a variety of biological investigations, in which traditional fluorescent labels based on organic molecules fall short of providing long-term stability and simultaneous detection of multiple signals. The ability to make QDs water soluble and target them to specific biomolecules has led to promising applications in cellular labelling, deep-tissue imaging, assay labelling and as efficient fluorescence resonance energy transfer donors. Despite recent progress, much work still needs to be done to achieve reproducible and robust surface functionalization and develop flexible bioconjugation techniques. In this review, we look at current methods for preparing QD bioconjugates as well as presenting an overview of applications. The potential of QDs in biology has just begun to be realized and new avenues will arise as our ability to manipulate these materials improves.

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Figure 1: Comparison of rhodamine red/DsRed2 spectral properties to those of QDs highlighting how multiple narrow, symmetric QD emissions can be used in the same spectral window as that of an organic or genetically encoded dye.
Figure 2: Representative QD core materials scaled as a function of their emission wavelength superimposed over the spectrum.
Figure 3: QD resistance to photobleaching and multicolour labelling.
Figure 4: Near-infrared QD imaging in vivo.
Figure 5: Properties of QDs as FRET donors.
Figure b1: Novel QD bio-applications and materials.

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Acknowledgements

The authors acknowledge the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) and A. Ervin and L. Chrisey at the Office of Naval Research (ONR grant N001404WX20270) and A. Krishan at DARPA for support. I.L.M. was and H.T.U. is supported by a National Research Council Fellowship through NRL.

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Correspondence to Igor L. Medintz or Hedi Mattoussi.

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Medintz, I., Uyeda, H., Goldman, E. et al. Quantum dot bioconjugates for imaging, labelling and sensing. Nature Mater 4, 435–446 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1038/nmat1390

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