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High-density sub-100-nm peptide-gold nanoparticle complexes improve vaccine presentation by dendritic cells in vitro

Adam Yuh Lin1, Jessica Lunsford2, Adham Sean Bear2, Joseph Keith Young3, Phillip Eckels2, Laureen Luo1, Aaron Edward Foster2 and Rebekah Anna Drezek13*

  • * Corresponding author: Rebekah Anna Drezek

  • † Equal contributors

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Bioengineering, Rice University, 77005, Houston, TX USA

2 Center for Cell and Gene Therapy, Baylor College of Medicine, 77030, Houston, TX, USA

3 Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Rice University, 77005, Houston, TX USA

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2013, 8:72  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-8-72

Published: 12 February 2013


Nanocarriers have been explored to improve the delivery of tumor antigens to dendritic cells (DCs). Gold nanoparticles are attractive nanocarriers because they are inert, non-toxic, and can be readily endocytosed by DCs. Here, we designed novel gold-based nanovaccines (AuNVs) using a simple self-assembling bottom-up conjugation method to generate high-peptide density delivery and effective immune responses with limited toxicity. AuNVs were synthesized using a self-assembling conjugation method and optimized using DC-to-splenocyte interferon-γ enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot assays. The AuNV design has shown successful peptide conjugation with approximately 90% yield while remaining smaller than 80 nm in diameter. DCs uptake AuNVs with minimal toxicity and are able to process the vaccine peptides on the particles to stimulate cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs). These high-peptide density AuNVs can stimulate CTLs better than free peptides and have great potential as carriers for various vaccine types.

Vaccines; Gold nanoparticles; ELISPOTs; Immunotherapy; Dendritic cells; Self-assembled monolayer