Publications by authors named "Brian Szychowski"

9 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Crotamine Cell-Penetrating Nanocarriers: Cancer-Targeting and Potential Biotechnological and/or Medical Applications.

Methods Mol Biol 2020 ;2118:61-89

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Baltimore, MD, USA.

Crotamine is a basic, 42-residue polypeptide from snake venom that has been shown to possess cell-penetrating properties. Here we describe the preparation, purification, biochemical and biophysical analysis of venom-derived, recombinant, chemically synthesized, and fluorescent-labeled crotamine. We also describe the formation and characterization of crotamine-DNA and crotamine-RNA nanoparticles; and the delivery of these nanoparticles into cells and animals. Crotamine forms nanoparticles with a variety of DNA and RNA molecules, and crotamine-plasmid DNA nanoparticles are selectively delivered into actively proliferating cells in culture or in living organisms such as mice, Plasmodium, and worms. As such, these nanoparticles could form the basis for a nucleic acid drug-delivery system. We also describe here the design and characterization of crotamine-functionalized gold nanoparticles, and the delivery of these nanoparticles into cells. We also evaluated the viability of using the combination of crotamine with silica nanoparticles in animal models, aiming to provide slow delivery, and to decrease the crotamine doses needed for the biological effects. In addition, the efficacy of administering crotamine orally was also demonstrated.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-1-0716-0319-2_5DOI Listing
January 2021

Set of Highly Stable Amine- and Carboxylate-Terminated Dendronized Au Nanoparticles with Dense Coating and Nontoxic Mixed-Dendronized Form.

Langmuir 2019 03 18;35(9):3391-3403. Epub 2019 Feb 18.

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry , University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) , Baltimore , Maryland 21250 , United States.

The synthesis of a novel poly(propyleneimine) (PPI) dendron in gram scale as well as its use in the formation of a highly stable, dendronized gold nanoparticle (AuNP)-based drug delivery platform is described herein. The AuNP-based platform is composed of three complementary parts: (i) a 15 nm AuNP core, (ii) a heterofunctional thioctic acid-terminated tetraethylene glycol spacer, and (iii) a third-generation PPI dendron with a unique protonation profile and diverse end-group functionalization that allows for further derivatization. The prepared dendronized AuNPs are able to withstand several rounds of lyophilization cycles with no sign of aggregation, are stable in phosphate-buffered saline and Hanks' buffer as well as in serum, and are resistant to degradation by glutathione exchange reactions. This nanocarrier platform displays a dense coating, with >1400 dendrons/AuNPs, which will enable very high payload. Furthermore, while amine-terminated AuNPs expectedly showed cytotoxicity against the MCF-7 breast cancer cell line from a NP concentration of 1 nM, the mixed monolayer AuNPs (coated with 40/60 amine/carboxylate dendrons) interestingly did not exhibit any sign of toxicity at concentrations as high as 15 nM, similar to the carboxylate-terminated AuNPs. The described dendronized AuNPs address the current practical need for a stable NP-based drug delivery platform which is scalable and easily conjugable, has long-term stability in solution, and can be conveniently formulated as a powder and redispersed in desired buffer or serum.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.langmuir.8b03196DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6499480PMC
March 2019

Single nanomaterial level investigation of ZnO nanorod sulfidation reactions via position resolved confocal Raman spectroscopy.

Nanoscale 2019 Jan;11(3):1147-1158

Department of Chemistry, Georgetown University, 37th & O Sts. NW., Washington, DC 20057, USA.

Zinc oxide (ZnO) nanomaterials have been used as desulfurizing sorbents for gaseous streams, zinc sulfide (ZnS)-forming template lattices in nanomaterial synthesis, and agriculturally produced sulfur (S)-removing reagents from the environment. Although various nanoscale forms of ZnO have already been utilized widely for such purposes, there is currently a lack of fundamental insight into the sulfidation of ZnO nanomaterials at the single nanocrystal level. We demonstrate that position-resolved confocal Raman spectroscopy can be successfully used to reveal the sulfidation process of ZnO NRs occurring at the single nanomaterial level. We attained a single crystal level understanding of the facet-dependent sulfidation reactivity of ZnO NRs by tracking the same NRs with Raman spectroscopy before and after the sulfidation reaction and quantitatively analyzing various ZnS-induced phonon scattering intensities from different positions on the NRs. The trend in NR facet-dependent sulfidation reactivity is further substantiated by correlating it with the electron microscopy and fluorescence data measured from the same NRs. The insight obtained from this study may provide the much-needed fundamental knowledge base for designing optimal ZnO nanostructures beneficial to many technological and industrial applications exploiting the ZnO-to-ZnS conversion. Taken together with the well-established methods to synthesize ZnO nanomaterials of specific crystal shapes and structures, our findings from this study may be broadly applicable in formulating and optimizing more advanced, low-dimensional ZnO sorbents and scrubbers for highly effective S removal.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/c8nr06039hDOI Listing
January 2019

Strong coupling and induced transparency at room temperature with single quantum dots and gap plasmons.

Nat Commun 2018 10 1;9(1):4012. Epub 2018 Oct 1.

Department of Physics, UMBC (University of Maryland, Baltimore County), Baltimore, MD, 21250, USA.

Coherent coupling between plasmons and transition dipole moments in emitters can lead to two distinct spectral effects: vacuum Rabi splitting at strong coupling strengths, and induced transparency (also known as Fano interference) at intermediate coupling strengths. Achieving either strong or intermediate coupling between a single emitter and a localized plasmon resonance has the potential to enable single-photon nonlinearities and other extreme light-matter interactions, at room temperature and on the nanometer scale. Both effects produce two peaks in the spectrum of scattering from the plasmon resonance, and can thus be confused if scattering measurements alone are performed. Here we report measurements of scattering and photoluminescence from individual coupled plasmon-emitter systems that consist of a single colloidal quantum dot in the gap between a gold nanoparticle and a silver film. The measurements unambiguously demonstrate weak coupling (the Purcell effect), intermediate coupling (Fano interference), and strong coupling (Rabi splitting) at room temperature.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-06450-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6167320PMC
October 2018

Controlled etching and tapering of Au nanorods using cysteamine.

Nanoscale 2018 Sep;10(35):16830-16838

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Baltimore, Maryland 21250, USA.

While gold nanorods (AuNRs) have found many applications due to their unique optical properties, a few challenges persist in their synthesis. Namely, it is often difficult to reproducibly synthesize AuNRs with specific and monodisperse sizes, especially at shorter aspect ratios. Here, we report a method of post-synthesis precise tailoring of AuNRs by etching with cysteamine. Cysteamine selectively etches AuNRs from their ends while preserving the initial rod shape and monodispersity, making this a viable means of obtaining highly monodisperse short AuNRs down to aspect ratio 2.3. Further, we explore the effect of this etching method on two types of silica-coated AuNRs: silica side-coated and silica end-coated AuNRs. We find that the etching process is cysteamine concentration-dependent and can lead to different degrees of sharpening of the silica-coated AuNRs, forming elongated tips. We also find that cysteamine behaves only as a ligand at concentrations above 200 mM, as no etching of the AuNRs is observed in this condition. Simulations show that excitation of plasmon resonances in these sharpened AuNRs produces local electric fields twice as strong as those produced by conventional AuNRs. Thus, cysteamine etching of AuNRs is shown to be an effective means of tailoring both the size and shape of AuNRs along with their corresponding optical properties. At the same time, the resulting cysteamine coating on the etched AuNRs displays terminal amino groups that allow for further functionalization of the nanorods.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/c8nr05325aDOI Listing
September 2018

Spatially Correlated, Single Nanomaterial-Level Structural and Optical Profiling of Cu-Doped ZnO Nanorods Synthesized via Multifunctional Silicides.

Nanomaterials (Basel) 2018 Apr 7;8(4). Epub 2018 Apr 7.

Department of Chemistry, Georgetown University, 37th & O Sts. NW., Washington, DC 20057, USA.

We demonstrate a straightforward and effective method to synthesize vertically oriented, Cu-doped ZnO nanorods (NRs) using a novel multipurpose platform of copper silicide nanoblocks (Cu₃Si NBs) preformed laterally in well-defined directions on Si. The use of the surface-organized Cu₃Si NBs for ZnO NR growth successfully results in densely assembled Cu-doped ZnO NRs on each NB platform, whose overall structures resemble thick bristles on a brush head. We show that Cu₃Si NBs can uniquely serve as a catalyst for ZnO NRs, a local dopant source of Cu, and a prepatterned guide to aid the local assembly of the NRs on the growth substrate. We also ascertain the crystalline structures, optical properties, and spectroscopic signatures of the Cu-doped ZnO NRs produced on the NBs, both at each module of NRs/NB and at their ensemble level. Subsequently, we determine their augmented properties relative to the pristine form of undoped ZnO NRs and the source material of Cu₃Si NBs. We provide spatially correlated structural and optical data for individual modules of Cu-doped ZnO NRs assembled on a Cu₃Si NB by resolving them along the different positions on the NB. Ensemble-averaged versus individual behaviors of Cu-doped ZnO NRs on Cu₃Si NBs are then compared. We further discuss the potential impact of such ZnO-derived NRs on their relatively unexplored biological and biomedical applications. Our efforts will be particularly useful when exploiting each integrated module of self-aligned, Cu-doped ZnO NRs on a NB as a discretely addressable, active element in solid-state sensors and miniaturized luminescent bioprobes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/nano8040222DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5923552PMC
April 2018

Design and characterization of crotamine-functionalized gold nanoparticles.

Colloids Surf B Biointerfaces 2018 Mar 11;163:1-8. Epub 2017 Dec 11.

Departamento de Farmacologia, Escola Paulista de Medicina (EPM), Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP), São Paulo, SP, Brazil. Electronic address:

This paper describes the development of a facile and environmentally friendly strategy for supporting crotamine on gold nanoparticles (GNPs). Our approach was based on the covalent binding interaction between the cell penetrating peptide crotamine, which is a snake venom polypeptide with preference to penetrate dividing cells, and a polyethylene glycol (PEG) ligand, which is a nontoxic, water-soluble and easily obtainable commercial polymer. Crotamine was derivatized with ortho-pyridyldisulfide-polyethyleneglycol-N-hydroxysuccinimide (OPSS-PEG-SVA) cross-linker to produce OPSS-PEG-crotamine as the surface modifier of GNP. OPSS-PEG-SVA can serve not only as a surface modifier, but also as a stabilizing agent for GNPs. The successful PEGylation of the nanoparticles was demonstrated using different physicochemical techniques, while the grafting densities of the PEG ligands and crotamine on the surface of the nanoparticles were estimated using a combination of electron microscopy and mass spectrometry analysis. In vitro assays confirmed the internalization of these GNPs, into living HeLa cells. The results described herein suggest that our approach may serve as a simple platform for the synthesis of GNPs decorated with crotamine with well-defined morphologies and uniform dispersion, opening new roads for crotamine biomedical applications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.colsurfb.2017.12.013DOI Listing
March 2018

Dramatic Modification of Coupled-Plasmon Resonances Following Exposure to Electron Beams.

J Phys Chem Lett 2017 Aug 21;8(15):3607-3612. Epub 2017 Jul 21.

Department of Physics, University of Maryland, Baltimore County , Baltimore, Maryland 21250, United States.

Studies of the plasmon resonances in individual and coupled metal nanoparticles often involve imaging of the nanostructures of interest in an electron microscope. We show that this process can dramatically modify the optical spectra of coupled plasmonic nanoparticles, illustrated here with the case of gold nanorod-nanosphere dimers. The spectral changes are due to the thin, partially conductive carbonaceous layer that deposits onto the particles during imaging. These changes are particularly significant for coupled nanoparticles with subnanometer interparticle gaps but have largely been neglected in previous studies of such structures, including studies intended to probe quantum-mechanical effects in plasmon coupling. Accounting for the effects of the carbonaceous layer will lead to a more accurate understanding of such systems.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.jpclett.7b01601DOI Listing
August 2017

Small-angle X-ray scattering method to characterize molecular interactions: Proof of concept.

Sci Rep 2015 Jul 10;5:12085. Epub 2015 Jul 10.

Division of Imaging, Diagnostics, and Software Reliability, Office of Science and Engineering Laboratories, Center for Devices and Radiological Health, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Silver Spring, Maryland, USA.

Characterizing biomolecular interactions is crucial to the understanding of biological processes. Existing characterization methods have low spatial resolution, poor specificity, and some lack the capability for deep tissue imaging. We describe a novel technique that relies on small-angle X-ray scattering signatures from high-contrast molecular probes that correlate with the presence of biomolecular interactions. We describe a proof-of-concept study that uses a model system consisting of mixtures of monomer solutions of gold nanoparticles (GNPs) as the non-interacting species and solutions of GNP dimers linked with an organic molecule (dimethyl suberimidate) as the interacting species. We report estimates of the interaction fraction obtained with the proposed small-angle X-ray scattering characterization method exhibiting strong correlation with the known relative concentration of interacting and non-interacting species.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep12085DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4498188PMC
July 2015