TITAN Technology with Functionalized “Dendrimers” Used to Analyze Endocytosis

Purdue researchers have devised a way to capture the finer details of complex cell processes by using tiny synthetic particles known as dendrimers, in a method that could lead to more targeted treatment for cancer. In particular, they have developed a novel proteomic strategy named TITAN (Tracing Internalization and TrAfficking of Nanomaterials) to reveal real-time protein–dendrimer interactions using a systems biology approach. Dendrimers are symmetrically branched nanoparticles, similar in size to naturally occurring proteins. Dendrimers are similar in size to naturally occurring proteins. A dendrimer's small size and its branched structure make it an ideal courier for transporting a variety of molecules via its many branches into a cell. A precise understanding of how cells engulf small particles, in a process known as endocytosis, could help researchers improve drug delivery and reveal the mechanisms of viruses. But the particles "eaten" by cells and the proteins that control cell entry pathways are too small for conventional technologies to detect. W. Andy Tao, Ph.D., Professor of Biochemistry, Purdue University, and his Purdue collaborators, have developed the TITAN method that sends “dendrimers” into cells to track, capture, and isolate the proteins that regulate the cell internalization process, identifying 809 proteins involved in cell entry pathways. The TITAN method "helps us understand how cells internalize extracellular particles and how they move these particles around," Dr. Tao said. The Purdue group’s article was originally published online on October 1, 2015 in the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS). The JACS article is titled “Time-Resolved Proteomic Visualization of Dendrimer Cellular Entry and Trafficking.”
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