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Q Li, X Qiao, F Wang, X Li, J Yang, Y Liu, L Shi and D Liu
Abstract
The formation of a protein corona on nanoprobes in the blood could not only reduce the delivery efficiency to their desti-nation but also inhibit the functions of the nanoprobes. Herein, we report a multifunctional nanogel that can shield single gold nanoparticle (AuNP) probe from interaction with the serum proteins, virtually eliminating protein corona formation on the nanoprobes. As a result, the delivery efficiency of the nanogel-encapsulated nanoprobes to tumors was dramatical-ly enhanced. When the probes are delivered into target cells, the nanogel shells are degraded in acidic endosomes, where a proton sponge effect occurs instantaneously to release the AuNP probes into cytoplasm to realize their bioimaging func-tions. We demonstrated the applicability of these probes for high-fidelity, non-invasive imaging of caspase activity in both cancer cells and in tumors. This strategy offers an exciting opportunity for designing high-efficacy nanoprobes for in vivo imaging.
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