DARPin_9-29-Targeted Mini Gold Nanorods Specifically Eliminate HER2-Overexpressing Cancer Cells

Galina Proshkina, Sergey Deyev, Anastasiya Ryabova, Francesco Tavanti, Maria Cristina Menziani, Roy Cohen, Liat Katrivas, Alexander Kotlyar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


We have demonstrated that designed ankyrin repeat protein (DARPin)_9-29, which specifically targets human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2), binds tightly to gold mini nanorods (GNRs). Molecular dynamic simulations showed that a single layer of DARPin_9-29 molecules is formed on the surface of the nanorod and that conjugation with the nanorod does not involve the protein's domain responsible for specific binding to HER2. The nanorod-DARPin (DARPin-GNR) conjugate is specifically bound (in nanomolar concentrations) to human breast adenocarcinoma SK-BR-3 cells overexpressing HER2. Illumination by near-infrared light (850 nm) led to almost complete eradication of the conjugate-treated SK-BR-3 cells; the viability of epithelial human breast cancer cells expressing normal amounts of the receptor was much less affected by the illumination. The results reported here pave the way toward application of DARPin-GNR conjugates in phototherapy of cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34645-34651
Number of pages7
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number38
StatePublished - 25 Sep 2019


FundersFunder number
Italian Ministero dell'Istruzione, dell'Universitae della Ricerca
Russian Foundation for Basic Research0024-2019-0003
Ministero dell’Istruzione, dell’Università e della RicercaPRIN 2010C4R8M8_002
Israel Science Foundation1589/14
Russian Science Foundation19-14-00112


    • DARPin
    • gold nanorods
    • molecular dynamic simulations
    • near-infrared illumination
    • tumor cells


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