Skip to Main Content

Latest News

May 5, 2010

Plastic Antibodies Target Peptide

Nanotechnology: Molecularly imprinted nanoparticles remove bee toxin from blood

Celia Henry Arnaud

TARGETED TOXIN In this fluorescence image of the biodistribution of melittin and MIP nanoparticles in a mouse, the complex accumulates in the liver. Violet is the lowest level and red is the highest. Courtesy of Kenneth Shea View Enlarged Image
TARGETED TOXIN In this fluorescence image of the biodistribution of melittin and MIP nanoparticles in a mouse, the complex accumulates in the liver. Violet is the lowest level and red is the highest.
  • Print this article
  • Email the editor

Latest News



October 28, 2011

Speedy Homemade-Explosive Detector

Forensic Chemistry: A new method could increase the number of explosives detected by airport screeners.

Solar Panel Makers Cry Foul

Trade: U.S. companies complain of market dumping by China.

Novartis To Cut 2,000 Jobs

Layoffs follow similar moves by Amgen, AstraZeneca.

Nations Break Impasse On Waste

Environment: Ban to halt export of hazardous waste to developing world.

New Leader For Lawrence Livermore

Penrose (Parney) Albright will direct DOE national lab.

Hair Reveals Source Of People's Exposure To Mercury

Toxic Exposure: Mercury isotopes in human hair illuminate dietary and industrial sources.

Why The Long Fat?

Cancer Biochemistry: Mass spectrometry follows the metabolism of very long fatty acids in cancer cells.

Text Size A A

Molecularly imprinted polymeric (MIP) nanoparticles can act as "plastic antibodies" to neutralize toxins in live animals, according to a new study (J. Am. Chem. Soc., DOI: 10.1021/ja102148f).

Chemists Kenneth J. Shea and Yu Hoshino of the University of California, Irvine, and coworkers developed MIP nanoparticles that target the peptide melittin, a component of bee venom that breaks open cells and causes them to release their contents. At high enough doses, melittin can lead to kidney failure and death.

The researchers make the nanoparticles by polymerizing various acrylamide monomers in the presence of melittin and then removing the template, creating binding sites for the target molecule. The approach is called molecular imprinting.

The Irvine team, working with the group of Naoto Oku at the University of Shizuoka, in Japan, injected a lethal dose of melittin into mice. Animals that then immediately received an injection of the melittin-targeting MIP nanoparticles showed a significantly higher survival rate than those that did not receive the nanoparticles. Although the MIP nanoparticles have previously been shown to target melittin in vitro with an affinity and selectivity comparable to those of natural antibodies (J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2008, 130, 15242), this is the first time the synthetic antibodies have been used in living animals.

"This is an excellent demonstration of the potential for molecularly imprinted nanoparticles to selectively bind peptides and related targets in the complex environment found in the bloodstream," says Steven C. Zimmerman of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, who also studies synthetic antibodies.

The nanoparticles show minimal toxicity, Shea says. The researchers determined the biodistribution of both the melittin and the MIP nanoparticles by fluorescence imaging of dye-labeled nanoparticles and melittin. The MIP nanoparticles and their targeted melittin accumulated in the same cells in the liver, suggesting that the nanoparticles sequester the toxin and that the complex is then cleared from the body by the liver.

Such nanoparticles could be fabricated for a variety of targets, Shea says. "This opens the door to serious consideration for these nanoparticles in all applications where antibodies are used," he adds.

Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © 2011 American Chemical Society
  • Print this article
  • Email the editor

Services & Tools

ACS Resources

ACS is the leading employment source for recruiting scientific professionals. ACS Careers and C&EN Classifieds provide employers direct access to scientific talent both in print and online. Jobseekers | Employers

» Join ACS

Join more than 161,000 professionals in the chemical sciences world-wide, as a member of the American Chemical Society.
» Join Now!