Cytotoxicity and DNA cleavage with core-shell nanocomposites functionalized by a KH domain DNA binding peptide

Remon Bazak, Jan Ressl, Sumita Raha, Caroline Doty, William Liu, Beau Wanzer, Seddik Abdel Salam, Samy Elwany, Tatjana Paunesku, Gayle E. Woloschak*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


A nanoconjugate was composed of metal oxide nanoparticles decorated with peptides and fluorescent dye and tested for DNA cleavage following UV light activation. The peptide design was based on a DNA binding domain, the so called KH domain of the hnRNPK protein. This "KH peptide" enabled cellular uptake of nanoconjugates and their entry into cell nuclei. The control nanoconjugate carried no peptide; it consisted only of the metal oxide nanoparticle prepared as Fe3O4@TiO2 nanocomposite and the fluorescent dye alizarin red S. These components of either construct are responsible for nanoconjugate activation by UV light and the resultant production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Production of ROS at different subcellular locations causes damage to different components of cells: only nanoconjugates inside cell nuclei can be expected to cause DNA cleavage. Degradation of cellular DNA with KH peptide decorated nanoconjugates exceeded the DNA damage obtained from control, no-peptide nanoconjugate counterparts. Moreover, caspase activation and cell death were more extensive in the same cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11394-11399
Number of pages6
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 7 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)

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