Polymethylmethacrylate core-shell fluorescent nanoparticles promote, in human lung A549 cancer cells, the internalization of a molecular beacon (MB) specific for survivin mRNA, an anti-apoptotic protein overexpressed in cancer cells. Aims: To design an effective drug delivery system, the knowledge of the uptake mechanism and of the nanoparticles (NPs) and MB fate is required. Materials and methods and key findings: Experiments with dextran as marker for endocytosis showed that in the presence of NPs the number of endocytic vesicles per cell doubled and their mean size significantly (p < 0.001) increased with respect to controls in absence of NPs, indicating an involvement of NPs in the endocytotic process. By using LysoTracker™ Deep Red, as marker of lysosomes, we found that nanoparticles co-localize with lysosomes. Moreover, a cellular release of nanoparticles detected in the culture medium, suggested a role of lysosomal exocytosis in nanoparticle elimination. The MB fluorescence in proximity of the labeled Endoplasmic Reticulum was indicative that the opening of the MB occurs in proximity of its target mRNA. Significance: The results show the involvement of endocytotic pathway in the uptake of NPs, which are an appropriate delivery system capable of being eliminated by cells. Furthermore the data confirm that the MB can be considered an effective tool for the intracellular sensing.
- Cancer cells
- Lysosomal exocytosis
- Molecular beacon
- Polymethylmethacrylate nanoparticles
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)