Biotechnology and Bioengineering, Vol.115, No.5, 1116-1127, 2018
Multi-facet implications of PEGylated lysozyme stabilized-silver nanoclusters loaded recombinant PTEN cargo in cancer theranostics
Amalgamation of delivery and tracking of therapeutically relevant moieties on a single platform is made possible by the application of metal nanoclusters, an innovative class of luminescent nanomaterials. Metal nanoclusters, possessing molecule-like attributes, display extraordinary size and shape tunable properties befitting theranostic applications. Herein, we report successful assembly of therapeutically significant phosphatase protein PTEN and fluorescent lysozyme-stabilized silver nanoclusters to accomplish delivery and tracking of the protein. Down-regulation of PTEN perturbs the cellular networking leading to copious pathological conditions. The integration of purified recombinant PTEN with silver nanoclusters was evaluated by fluorescence spectroscopy study. A key feature of this study is the use of polyethylene glycol coating that allows fabrication of the assembly into spherical nanocomposites as characterized by transmission electron microscope along with retention of both optical functionality of the cluster and biological activity of the protein. Prior to cellular application, the functional integrity of PTEN in the composite was determined in vitro, by enzymatic assay employing para-nitrophenylphosphate as substrate. Cellular internalization of the cargo was studied by confocal microscopy and flow cytometry analysis. The efficacy of the payload on modulation of cellular signaling was assessed on cell lines that expressed PTEN differentially. PTEN null U-87 MG and PTEN expressing MCF7 cell lines displayed successful alteration of AKT and FAK signaling proteins culminating in cell cycle arrest and reduced wound healing capacity. A dose dependent reduction in cell proliferation of MCF7 cells was achieved. For U-87 MG, treatment with the payload resulted in chemosensitization toward anti-cancer drug erlotinib. Thus, PEG coated GST-PTEN loaded silver nanoclusters serves as a comprehensive system encompassing cellular imaging and protein delivery with potential biomedical implications.