Indexed on: 20 Dec '18Published on: 20 Dec '18Published in: Nanomaterials (Basel, Switzerland)
Polydopamine can form biocompatible particles that convert light into heat. Recently, a protocol has been optimized to synthesize polydopamine/protein hybrid nanoparticles that retain the biological function of proteins, and combine it with the stimuli-induced heat generation of polydopamine. We have utilized this novel system to form polydopamine particles, containing transferrin (PDA/Tf). Mouse melanoma cells, which strongly express the transferrin receptor, were exposed to PDA/Tf nanoparticles (NPs) and, subsequently, were irradiated with a UV laser. The cell death rate was monitored in real-time. When irradiated, the melanoma cells exposed to PDA/Tf NPs underwent apoptosis, faster than the control cells, pointing towards the ability of PDA/Tf to mediate UV-light-induced cell death. The system was also validated in an organotypic, 3D-printed tumor spheroid model, comprising mouse melanoma cells, and the exposure and subsequent irradiation with UV-light, yielded similar results to the 2D cell culture. The process of apoptosis was found to be targeted and mediated by the lysosomal membrane permeabilization. Therefore, the herein presented polydopamine/protein NPs constitute a versatile and stable system for cancer cell-targeting and photothermal apoptosis induction.