Imaging Viral Behavior in Mammalian Cells with Self-Assembled Capsid-Quantum-Dot Hybrid Particles

F Li, ZP Zhang, J Peng, ZQ Cui, DW Pang, K Li, HP Wei, YF Zhou, Jikai Wen, XE Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

104 Citations (Scopus)


Unique spectral properties of quantum dots (QDs) enable ultrasensitive and long-term biolabeling. Aiming to trace the infection, movement, and localization of viruses in living cells, QD-containing virus-like particles (VLPs) of simian virus 40 (SV40), termed SVLP-QDs, are constructed by in vitro self-assembly of the major capsid protein of SV40. SVLP-QDs show homogeneity in size (approximate to 24 nm), similarity in spectral properties to unencapsidated QDs, and considerable stability. When incubated with living cells, SVLP-QDs are shown to enter the cells by caveolar endocytosis, travel along the microtubules, and accumulate in the endoplasmic reticulum. This process mimics the early infection steps of SV40. This is the first paradigm of imaging viral behaviors with encapsidated QDs in living cells. The method may provide a new alternative for various purposes, such as tracing viruses or viral components, targeted nanoparticle delivery, and probing of drug delivery.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)718-726
Number of pages9
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2009


  • self-assembly
  • quantum dots
  • virus tracing
  • simian virus 40
  • hybrid materials


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