Dorian Bruch

Chemical Engineering

Light Controlled Delivery of P53 Using Plasmonic Gold Nanoparticles

There are currently a limited number of methods that allow spatial and temporal control of protein activity in cells. One of these methods involves the use of highly modified proteins that are light activated, called an optogenetic protein. However, these proteins require substantial time and effort to engineer in order to confer both light activation, while maintaining its native function, making the approach to the time resolved study of proteins challenging. Plasmonic gold nanoparticles can provide an alternative method that not only has spatial and temporal control, but can be applied to virtually any protein to study diverse cellular processes. In this study, native human p53 will be purified and then tethered to a nanoparticle using an affinity tag. P53 will then be delivered to human cell lines and released using infrared radiation. Successful delivery of p53 will induce expression of red fluorescent protein in the exposed cells with spatial control. This technology has the potential to greatly improve the efficiency of introducing exogenous proteins into cells to greater than 60% compared to conventional methods. This may expedite the research and understanding of the fundamentals of cellular processes. 

UC Santa Barbara Center for Science and Engineering Partnerships UCSB California NanoSystems Institute