Ligand Ratio Plays a Critical Role in the Design of Optimal Multifunctional Gold Nanoclusters for Targeted Gastric Cancer Therapy
Matus, M. F., Malola, S., & Häkkinen, H. (2021). Ligand Ratio Plays a Critical Role in the Design of Optimal Multifunctional Gold Nanoclusters for Targeted Gastric Cancer Therapy. ACS Nanoscience Au, Early online. https://doi.org/10.1021/acsnanoscienceau.1c00008
Published inACS Nanoscience Au
© The Authors. Published by American Chemical Society
Nanodrug delivery systems (NDDSs) based on water-soluble and atomically precise gold nanoclusters (AuNCs) are under the spotlight due to their great potential in cancer theranostics. Gastric cancer (GC) is one of the most aggressive cancers with a low early diagnosis rate, with drug therapy being the primary means to overcome its increasing incidence. In this work, we designed and characterized a set of 28 targeted nanosystems based on Au144(p-MBA)60 (p-MBA = para-mercaptobenzoic acid) nanocluster to be potentially employed as combination therapy in GC treatment. The proposed multifunctional AuNCs are functionalized with cytotoxic drugs (5-fluorouracil and epirubicin) or inhibitors of different signaling pathways (phosphatidylinositol 3-kinases (PI3K)/protein kinase B (Akt)/mammalian target of the rapamycin (mTOR), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)) and RGD peptides as targeting ligands, and we studied the role of ligand ratio in their optimal structural conformation using peptide–protein docking and all-atom molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. The results reveal that the peptide/drug ratio is a crucial factor influencing the potential targeting ability of the nanosystem. The most convenient features were observed when the peptide amount was favored over the drug in most cases; however, we demonstrated that the system composition and the intermolecular interactions on the ligand shell are crucial for achieving the desired effect. This approach helps guide the experimental stage, providing essential information on the size and composition of the nanosystem at the atomic level for ligand tuning in order to increase the desired properties. ...