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1.  Branched Oligopeptides Form Nano-Capsules with Lipid Vesicle Characteristics 
In a recent article (Gudlur et al., (2012) PLOS ONE, 7 (9) e45374) we described the special properties of a mixed branched peptide assembly in which equimolar bis(FLIVI)-K-KKKK and bis(FLIVIGSII)-K-KKKK self-associate to form bilayer delimited capsules capable of trapping solutes. These poly-cationic vesicle-like capsules are readily taken up by epithelial cells in culture, escape or evade the endocytic pathway, and accumulate in the peri-nuclear region where they persist without any apparent degradation. In this report we examine the lipid-like properties of this system including initial assembly; solute encapsulation and washing; fusion and resizing by membrane extrusion through polycarbonate filters with defined pore sizes. The resized peptide capsules have uniform diameters in nm size ranges. Once resized, the capsules can be maintained at the new size by storing them at 4° C. Having the ability to prepare stable uniform nano-scale capsules of desired sizes makes them potentially attractive as biocompatible delivery vehicles for various solutes/drugs.
doi:10.1021/la403492n
PMCID: PMC3889211  PMID: 24188529
nano capsules; peptide capsules; branched amphiphilic peptides; self-assembling peptides; peptide vesicles
2.  Carbon dioxide hydrogenation to aromatic hydrocarbons by using an iron/iron oxide nanocatalyst 
Summary
The quest for renewable and cleaner energy sources to meet the rapid population and economic growth is more urgent than ever before. Being the most abundant carbon source in the atmosphere of Earth, CO2 can be used as an inexpensive C1 building block in the synthesis of aromatic fuels for internal combustion engines. We designed a process capable of synthesizing benzene, toluene, xylenes and mesitylene from CO2 and H2 at modest temperatures (T = 380 to 540 °C) employing Fe/Fe3O4 nanoparticles as catalyst. The synthesis of the catalyst and the mechanism of CO2-hydrogenation will be discussed, as well as further applications of Fe/Fe3O4 nanoparticles in catalysis.
doi:10.3762/bjnano.5.88
PMCID: PMC4077464  PMID: 24991513
aromatic hydrocarbons; carbon dioxide reduction; heterogenous catalysis; iron/iron oxide nanocatalyst
3.  Magnetic-Fe/Fe3O4-nanoparticle-bound SN38 as carboxylesterase-cleavable prodrug for the delivery to tumors within monocytes/macrophages 
Summary
The targeted delivery of therapeutics to the tumor site is highly desirable in cancer treatment, because it is capable of minimizing collateral damage. Herein, we report the synthesis of a nanoplatform, which is composed of a 15 ± 1 nm diameter core/shell Fe/Fe3O4 magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) and the topoisomerase I blocker SN38 bound to the surface of the MNPs via a carboxylesterase cleavable linker. This nanoplatform demonstrated high heating ability (SAR = 522 ± 40 W/g) in an AC-magnetic field. For the purpose of targeted delivery, this nanoplatform was loaded into tumor-homing double-stable RAW264.7 cells (mouse monocyte/macrophage-like cells (Mo/Ma)), which have been engineered to express intracellular carboxylesterase (InCE) upon addition of doxycycline by a Tet-On Advanced system. The nanoplatform was taken up efficiently by these tumor-homing cells. They showed low toxicity even at high nanoplatform concentration. SN38 was released successfully by switching on the Tet-On Advanced system. We have demonstrated that this nanoplatform can be potentially used for thermochemotherapy. We will be able to achieve the following goals: (1) Specifically deliver the SN38 prodrug and magnetic nanoparticles to the cancer site as the payload of tumor-homing double-stable RAW264.7 cells; (2) Release of chemotherapeutic SN38 at the cancer site by means of the self-containing Tet-On Advanced system; (3) Provide localized magnetic hyperthermia to enhance the cancer treatment, both by killing cancer cells through magnetic heating and by activating the immune system.
doi:10.3762/bjnano.3.51
PMCID: PMC3388369  PMID: 23016149
cell-based delivery; chemotherapeutic prodrug; magnetic Fe/Fe3O4 nanoparticles; SN38

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