Phosphorylated Peptide Functionalization of Lanthanide Upconversion Nanoparticles for Tuning Nanomaterial-Cell Interactions

Chi Yao, Caiyi Wei, Zhi Huang, Yiqing Lu, Ahmed Mohamed El-Toni, Dianwen Ju, Xiangmin Zhang, Wenning Wang*, Fan Zhang

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    27 Citations (Scopus)


    Peptide modification of nanoparticles with high efficiency is critical in determining the properties and bioapplications of nanoparticles, but the methodology remains a challenging task. Here, by using the phosphorylated linear and cyclic peptide with the arginine-glycine-aspartic acid (RGD) targeting motifs as typical examples, the peptides binding efficiency for the inorganic metal compound nanoparticles was increased significantly after the phosphorylation treatment, and the modification allowed for improving the selectivity and signal-to-noise ratio for cancer targeting and reduced the toxicity derived from nonspecific interactions of nanoparticles with cells owing to the higher amount of phosphopeptide binding. In addition, molecular dynamics (MD) simulations of various peptides on inorganic metal compound surfaces revealed that the peptide adsorption on the surface is mainly driven by electrostatic interactions between phosphate oxygen and the polarized interfacial water layer, consistent with the experimental observation of the strong binding propensity of phosphorylated peptides. Significantly, with the RGD phosphopeptide surface modification, these nanoparticles provide a versatile tool for tuning material-cell interactions to achieve the desired level of autophagy and may prove useful for various diagnostic and therapeutic applications.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)6935-6943
    Number of pages9
    JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
    Issue number11
    Publication statusPublished - 23 Mar 2016


    • lanthanide upconversion nanoparticles
    • peptide
    • phosphorylation
    • cancer target
    • autophagy


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