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Designed Short RGD Peptides for One-Pot Aqueous Synthesis of Integrin-binding CdTe and CdZnTe Quantum Dots.
He H, Feng M, Hu J, Chen C, Wang J, Wang X, Xu H, Lu JR.
ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2012 Oct 29. [Epub ahead of print] DOI: 10.1021/am3020108

We have designed a series of short RGD peptide ligands and developed one-pot aqueous synthesis of integrin-binding CdTe and CdZnTe quantum dots (QDs). We first examined the effects of different RGD peptides, including RGDS, CRGDS, Ac-CRGDS, CRGDS-CONH2, Ac-CRGDS-CONH2, RGDSC, CCRGDS and CCCRGDS, on the synthesis of CdTe QDs. CRGDS were found to be the optimal ligand providing the CdTe QDs with well-defined wavelength ranges (500-650 nm) and relatively high photoluminescence quantum yields (up to 15%). The key synthesis parameters (the pH value of the Cd2+-RGD precursors and the molar ratio of RGD/Cd2+) were assessed. In order to further improve the optical properties of the RGD-capped QDs, Zn was then incorporated by the simultaneous reaction of Cd2+ and Zn2+ with NaHTe. By using a mixture of CRGDS and cysteine as the stabilizer, the quantum yields of CdZnTe alloy QDs reached as high as 60 % without any post-treatment, and they also showed excellent stability against time, pH, and salinity. Note that these properties could not be obtained with only CRGDS or cysteine as the stabilizer. Finally, we demonstrated that the RGD-capped QDs preferentially bind to cell surfaces, due to the specific recognition of the RGD sequence to cell surface integrin receptors. Our synthesis strategy based on RGD peptides thus represents a convenient route for opening up QD technologies for cell specific tagging and labeling applicable to a wide range of diagnostics and therapy.