Nanogels have been widely used as multifunctional drug delivery carriers because of high water content, biocompatibility, and high loading capability. We designed and biosynthesized two triblock artificial polypeptides PC10A and PC10ARGD as vehicles for encapsulating hydrophobic materials. These polypeptides can form nanogels by self-assembly when the concentration is below 2% (w/v). The physical properties of nanogels, including size, surface potential, and targeting domain, are able to be tuned. Hydrophobic materials from molecular size to nano-size can be loaded into the polypeptide nanogels to form hybrid nanogels. Hydrophobic quantum dots CdSe@ZnS below 10 nM were loaded into the polypeptide nanogels by ultrasonic treatment. Encapsulation endows hydrophobic QDs with good tunability of size, water solubility, stability, targeting, and biocompatibility. PC10ARGD nanogels and PC10ARGD@QDs hybrid nanogels showed excellent biocompatibility, which the cellular viabilities of HeLa and MCF-7 cells treated with 1% PC10ARGD nanogels and PC10ARGD@QDs hybrid nanogels contained 20 nM QDs were above 90 and 80%, respectively. PC10ARGD@QDs hybrid nanogels with an arginine–glycine–aspartic acid motif present efficient receptor-mediated endocytosis in α v β 3 overexpressing HeLa cells but not in the control MCF-7 cells as analyzed by confocal microscopy. These results demonstrate that such polypeptide nanogels as nanocarriers are expected to have great potential applications in biomedicine.
Journal of Nanoparticle Research – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 10, 2017
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