Gold nanobeacons for tracking gene silencing in Zebrafish

Cordeiro, Milton, Lara Carvalho, Joana Silva, Leonor Saúde, Alexandra R. Fernandes, and Pedro V. Baptista. "Gold nanobeacons for tracking gene silencing in Zebrafish." Nanomaterials (2017).


The use of gold nanoparticles for effective gene silencing has demonstrated its potential as a tool for gene expression experiments and for the treatment of several diseases. Here, we used a gold nanobeacon designed to specifically silence the enhanced green fluorescence protein (EGFP) mRNA in embryos of a fli-EGFP transgenic zebrafish line, while simultaneously allowing the tracking and localization of the silencing events via the beacon’s emission. Fluorescence imaging measurements demonstrated a decrease of the EGFP emission with a concomitant increase in the fluorescence of the Au-nanobeacon. Furthermore, microinjection of the Au-nanobeacon led to a negligible difference in mortality and malformations in comparison to the free oligonucleotide, indicating that this system is a biocompatible platform for the administration of gene silencing moieties. Together, these data illustrate the potential of Au-nanobeacons as tools for in vivo zebrafish gene modulation with low toxicity which may be used towards any gene of interest.

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