Nanomaterials have been utilized in biomedical applications for many years because of their unique properties
such as quantum confinement, surface plasmon resonance, and superparamagnetism. These applications are expected to
advance diagnosis and therapeutics. Fluorescent nanomaterials, such as quantum dots (QDs), were exalted in biological
imaging and tracking, and trended to replace protein-based probes. Our previous investigation indicated that cellpenetrating
peptides (CPPs) are a promising delivery system that can translocate materials efficiently in a noncovalent
manner. In this study, we demonstrate that arginine-rich CPPs can noncovalently complex with QDs and significantly
raise efficiency of cellular entry. We further examined their mechanisms of cellular penetrations, subcellular localizations,
and cytotoxicity. Importantly, CPP/QD complexes were not toxic at the level of efficient transduction. Collectively,
our study provided an insight that CPPs can facilitate the delivery of nanomaterials into cells. Various compositions of
CPPs are a major factor affecting uptake routes and efficiency for drug delivery applications.
Keywords: Cell-penetrating peptides, pharmacological inhibitors, polyarginine, protein transduction, quantum dots.
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