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WIREs Nanomed Nanobiotechnol
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Abstract ‘Nanobiosystems’ is a relatively new term describing objects in the size range below 150 nm and having structures or functions that link to biological functions. Key features are that these nanosized objects typically self‐assemble, are not capable of self‐replication, and have functions that take advantage of its size. Nanobiosystems can be made entirely of biological or organic molecules that are organized into nanoparticles (e.g., liposomes, dendrimers) or be totally inorganic (with the exception of surface coatings used for biocompatibility) nanoparticles (e.g., gold, iron oxide, quantum dot nanocrystals). More complex nanobiosystems are inorganic/biologic hybrid composites that may include complex multilayered structures with targeting molecules (e.g., peptides, antibodies, aptamers), cell entry‐promoting molecules (e.g., HIV‐tat peptide sequence), drugs (small molecules), genes (therapeutic genes, reporter genes), and core nanomaterials (e.g., gold, quantum dot, iron oxide) that give the nanobiosystems sometimes unique detection capabilities by a variety of optical and non‐optical modalities (fluorescence, surface plasmon resonance, magnetic resonance imaging). Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. This article is categorized under: Toxicology and Regulatory Issues in Nanomedicine > Toxicology of Nanomaterials

(a) Nanobiosystems undergo a multi‐step process that conceptually, and sometimes physically, require a multilayered structure, (b) Multifunctional nanobiosystems can contain specific molecules for targeting, entry, biosensing, and therapy constructed to accomplish a complex set of tasks that through de‐layering and chemistry, these nanobiosystems can be considered “programmable” by controlling an ordered sequence of events.

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The single bright spots in tumor cells within this histological section of SKBr3 human breast cancer cells excised from a xenograft from a nude mouse after necropsy, are thousands of agglomerated peptide‐guided quantum dots nanoparticles that were injected into the tail vein of the animals and targeted to the tumor site through its vasculature.

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(a) X‐ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) analysis of uncoated iron oxide nanoparticles, (b) XPS analysis of APTMS (3‐aminopropyltrimethoxysilane) polymer silica coated iron oxide nanoparticles shows presence of silicon atoms in this coating layer.

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(a) Tethered genes on nanoparticles can express genes and high efficiency, (b) Multiple layers can be built on iron oxide nanoparticle cores, (c) Reporter genes (DsRed and eGFP) can have their expression driven by a cytomegalovirus (CMV) promoter or can even be controlled by upstream antioxidant response element (ARE) molecular biosensor switches, (d) to produce eGFP reporter gene products in response to oxidative stress under control of a stress biosensor, or (e) simply express DsRed reporter gene product freely under a CMV promoter.

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