Ying Hu Group Reports Cell Imaging Milestone

The Hu group has reported quantum dot delivery into live T-cells.

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) achieved a milestone in exploring biology using nanotechnology as recently reported in the journal Nanoscale. A consortium of research groups led by Prof. Ying Hu of the UIC Chemistry department, with Profs. Preston Snee and Anne George also of UIC, utilized single particle tracking to investigate the interaction between human T cells and individual fluorescent nanoparticles of semiconductor quantum dots (QDs). The researchers were able to deliver QDs into the cytosol of live T cells by decorating the nanoparticles with a unique cell-penetrating peptide. The study discovered that these functionalized nanoparticles entered T cells through an alternative pathway distinct from endocytosis, thereby allowing the nanoparticles to access the cytoplasmic machinery. The study paves the way for improving drug delivery and immunotherapy using novel nanocarriers. Furthermore, targeted delivery of genetic materials into T cell lymphocytes holds the promise to boost T-cell-mediated immunity which can help protect against COVID and cancer.