Nanoparticle Shape Determines Dynamics of Targeting Nanoconstructs on Cell Membranes

Priscilla Choo, Tingting Liu, Teri W. Odom*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Nanoparticle carriers are effective drug delivery vehicles. Along with other design parameters including size, composition, and surface charge, particle shape strongly influences cellular uptake. How nanoparticle geometry affects targeted delivery under physiologically relevant conditions, however, is inconclusive. Here, we demonstrate that nanoconstruct core shape influences the dynamics of targeting ligand-receptor interactions on cancer cell membranes. By single-particle tracking of translational and rotational motion, we compared DNA aptamer AS1411 conjugated gold nanostars (AS1411-AuNS) and 50 nm gold spheres (AS1411-50NPs) on cells with and without targeted nucleolin membrane receptors. On nucleolin-expressing cells, AS1411-AuNS exhibited faster velocities under directed diffusion and translated over larger areas during restricted diffusion compared to AS1411-50NPs, despite their similar protein corona profiles. On nucleolin-inhibited cells, AS1411-AuNS showed faster rotation dynamics over smaller translational areas, while AS1411-50NPs did not display significant changes in translation. These differences in translational and rotational motions indicate that nanoparticle shape affects how targeting nanoconstructs bind to cell-membrane receptors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4550-4555
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number12
StatePublished - Mar 31 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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