Intracellular Uptake Mechanism of Bioorthogonally Conjugated Nanoparticles on Metabolically Engineered Mesenchymal Stem Cells

Seungho Lim, Woojun Kim, Sukyung Song, Man Kyu Shim, Hong Yeol Yoon, Byung Soo Kim, Ick Chan Kwon, Kwangmeyung Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Nanoparticles have been used for effectively delivering imaging agents and therapeutic drugs into stem cells. However, nanoparticles are not sufficiently internalized into stem cells; thus, new delivery method of nanoparticles into stem cells is urgently needed. Herein, we develop bicyclo[6.1.0]nonyne (BCN)-conjugated gold nanoparticles (BCN-AuNPs), which can be bioorthogonally conjugated to azide (-N3) groups on the surface of metabolically engineered stem cells via bioorthogonal click chemistry. For incorporating azide groups on the cell surface, first, human adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) were metabolically engineered with N-azidoacetylmannosamine-tetraacylated (Ac4ManNAz). Second, clickable BCN-AuNPs were bioorthogonally conjugated to azide groups on Ac4ManNAz-treated hMSCs. Importantly, a large amount of BCN-AuNPs was specifically conjugated to metabolically engineered hMSCs and then internalized rapidly into stem cells through membrane turnover mechanism, compared to the conventional nanoparticle-derived endocytosis mechanism. Furthermore, BCN-AuNPs entrapped in endosomal/lysosomal compartment could escape efficiently to the cytoplasm of metabolically engineered stem cells. Finally, BCN-AuNPs in stem cells were very safe, and they did not affect stem cell functions, such as self-renewal and differentiation capacity. These bioorthogonally conjugated nanoparticles on metabolically engineered stem cells can enhance the cellular uptake of nanoparticles via bioorthogonal conjugation mechanism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-214
Number of pages16
JournalBioconjugate Chemistry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jan 20

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by grants from the National Research Foundation (NRF) of Korea, funded by the Ministry of Science (NRF-2019R1A2C3006283), the KU-KIST Graduate School of Converging Science and Technology (Korea University) and the Intramural Research Program of KIST.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 American Chemical Society.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Organic Chemistry


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