Patent application title: BIOACTIVATION OF PARTICLES
Fabien Pinaud (Los Angeles, CA, US)
David King (Los Angeles, CA, US)
Shimon Weiss (Los Angeles, CA, US)
Shimon Weiss (Los Angeles, CA, US)
THE REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
IPC8 Class: AC07K1400FI
Class name: Stock material or miscellaneous articles coated or structually defined flake, particle, cell, strand, strand portion, rod, filament, macroscopic fiber or mass thereof particulate matter (e.g., sphere, flake, etc.)
Publication date: 2012-08-16
Patent application number: 20120208023
Particles are bioactivated by attaching bioactivation peptides to the
particle surface. The bioactivation peptides are peptide-based compounds
that impart one or more biologically important functions to the
particles. Each bioactivation peptide includes a molecular or surface
recognition part that binds with the surface of the particle and one or
more functional parts. The surface recognition part includes an amino-end
and a carboxy-end and is composed of one or more hydrophobic spacers and
one or more binding clusters. The functional part(s) is attached to the
surface recognition part at the amino-end and/or said carboxy-end.
21. A bioactivation peptide for use in treating particle quantum dots having a surface to form bioactivated particles, said bioactivation peptide comprising: a molecular recognition part that is bindable to said surface of said quantum dot and one or more functional parts, said molecular recognition part including an amino-end and a carboxy-end and comprising one or more hydrophobic spacers and one or more binding clusters and wherein said functional part(s) is attached to said molecular recognition part at said amino-end and/or said carboxy-end, wherein said binding cluster is directly bindable to said surface of said quantum dot and comprises an amino acid independently selected from the group consisting of cysteine, methionine, and histidine, wherein said hydrophobic spacer comprises an amino acid modified to be hydrophobic independently selected from the group consisting of hydrophobic alanine, hydrophobic glycine, hydrophobic isoleucine, hydrophobic leucine, hydrophobic methionine, hydrophobic arginine, hydrophobic valine, and hydrophobic tryptophan.
23. A bioactivation peptide according to claim 21 wherein said binding cluster consists essentially of two cysteines.
25. A bioactivation peptide according to claim 21 wherein said hydrophobic amino acid is hydrophobic alanine.
27. A bioactivation peptide according to claim 23 wherein said hydrophobic spacer is hydrophobic alanine.
28. A bioactivation peptide according to claim 21 wherein said molecular recognition part comprises at least three binding clusters which are alternately located between at least four hydrophobic spacers.
29. A bioactivation peptide according to claim 28 wherein said binding clusters each consists essentially of two cysteines and said hydrophobic spacers each consists essentially of hydrophobic alanine.
30. A bioactivation peptide according to claim 21 wherein said quantum dot to which said molecular recognition part is bindable comprises inorganic material at said surface.
31. A bioactivation peptide according to claim 30 wherein the diameter of said particle is between 0.1 and 100 nanometers.
33. A bioactivation peptide according to claim 21 wherein said functional part(s) comprises one or more functional agent(s) selected from the group consisting of solubility agents, conjugation agents, targeting agents, therapeutic agents, imaging agents, detection agents, recognition agents and diagnostic agents.
34. A bioactivation peptide according to claim 21 wherein said functional part(s) consist essentially of one or more solubility agent(s).
35. A bioactivation peptide according to claim 21 wherein said functional part(s) comprise one or more solubility agents attached to said molecular recognition part and one or more functional agent(s) attached to said one or more solubility agent(s) wherein said functional agent(s) is selected from the group consisting of conjugation agents, targeting agents, therapeutic agents, imaging agents, detection agents, recognition agents and diagnostic agents.
36. A bioactivation peptide according to claim 34 wherein said solubility agent is selected from the group consisting of hydrophilic peptides, polyethylene glycol, poly(ethylene oxide), polyelectrolytes and sugars.
42. A method for making a bioactivated particle that is soluble in an aqueous medium, said method comprising the steps of: providing a quantum dot that includes a surface; and treating the surface of said quantum dot with a sufficient amount of a bioactivation peptide according to claim 21 to make said bioactivated particle soluble in said aqueous medium.
44. A method for making a bioactivated particle that is soluble in an aqueous medium, said method comprising the steps of: providing a quantum dot that includes a surface; and treating the surface of said quantum dot with a sufficient amount of a bioactivation peptide according to claim 34 to make said bioactivated particle soluble in said aqueous medium.
45. A method for making a bioactivated particle that is soluble in an aqueous medium, said method comprising the steps of: providing a quantum dot that includes a surface; and treating the surface of said quantum dot with a sufficient amount of a bioactivation peptide according to claim 35 to make said bioactivated particle soluble in said aqueous medium.
46. A bioactivated particle having the formula ##STR00001## wherein [QD] is a quantum dot, wherein [BC] is a binding cluster comprising an amino acid independently selected from the group consisting of cysteine, methionine, histidine, and combinations, wherein [HS] is a hydrophobic spacer comprising an amino acid modified to be hydrophobic independently selected from the group consisting of hydrophobic alanine, hydrophobic glycine, hydrophobic isoleucine, hydrophobic leucine, hydrophobic methionine, hydrophobic arginine, hydrophobic valine, and hydrophobic tryptophan, wherein m is at least 1, wherein [FP1] and [FP2] may be the same or different and are functional parts selected from the group consisting of a solubility agent, conjugation agent, targeting agent, therapeutic agent, imaging agent, detection agent, recognition agent, and diagnostic agent.
47. The bioactivated particle of claim 46, wherein [BC] is a binding cluster consisting of at least one cysteine, wherein [HS] is a hydrophobic spacer consisting of at least one hydrophobic alanine, wherein m is at most 3, and wherein [FP1] and [FP2] may be the same or different and are functional parts selected from the group consisting of a hydrophilic peptide, polyethylene glycol, poly(ethylene oxide), a polyelectrolyte, polyethylene imine, a sugar, cellobiose, sucrose, sialic acid, and combinations.
48. A bioactivation peptide having the formula: [FP1]-[MRP], [MRP]-[FP2], or [FP1]-[MRP]-[FP2], wherein [FP1] and [FP2] may be the same or different and are functional parts selected from the group consisting of amide, acetyl, carboxamide, carboxyl, polyethylene glycol (PEG), NHS ester, keto, thiol, 1,4,7,10-tetraazacyclododecane-1,4,7,10-tetraacetic acid (DOTA), Ni-NTA, I, Yt, tritium, a metallo texaphyrin, taxol, herceptin, fluorescein, bromothymol blue, a hydrophilic peptide, biotin, avidin, streptavidin, lysine, cysteine, aspartic acid, DNA, transferrin, an antibody, a single chain fragment, G-S-E-S-G-G-S-E-S-G [SEQ. ID. NO. 6], G-S--S--S-G-G-S--S--S-G [SEQ. ID. NO. 7], G-P--K--K--K--R--K--V-G-G-S-E-S-G-G-S-E-S-G [SEQ. ID. NO. 8], K-G-S-E-S-G-G-S-E-S-G [SEQ. ID. NO. 9], and combinations, wherein [MRP] is a molecular recognition part consisting of Ala-C--C-Ala-C--C-Ala-C--C-Ala [SEQ. ID. NO. 1], and wherein Ala is hydrophobic alanine, C is cysteine, G is glycine, S is serine, E is glutamic acid, P is proline, K is lysine, R is arginine, and V is valine.
49. The bioactivation peptide of claim 48, having the formula [MRP]-[FP2] wherein [FP2] is selected from the group consisting of PEG, PEG-biotin, hydrophilic peptide-transferrin, and hydrophilic peptide-tyrosine-DOTA-iodine.
50. The bioactivation peptide of claim 48, selected from the group consisting of NH2-Ala-C--C-Ala-C--C-Ala-C--C-Ala-carboxamide [SEQ. ID. NO. 1], acetylated-Ala-C--C-Ala-C--C-Ala-C--C-Ala-carboxamide [SEQ. ID. NO. 1], NH2-G-S-E-S-G-G-S-E-S-G-Ala-C--C-Ala-C--C-Ala-C--C-Ala-carboxamide [SEQ. ID. NO. 2], acetylated-G-S-E-S-G-G-S-E-S-G-Ala-C--C-Ala-C--C-Ala-C--C-Ala-carboxamide [SEQ. ID. NO. 10], acetylated-G-S--S--S-G-G-S--S--S-G-Ala-C--C-Ala-C--C-Ala-C--C-Ala-carboxa- mide [SEQ. ID. NO. 3], acetylated-G-P--K--K--K--R--K--V-G-G-S-E-S-G-G-S-E-S-G-Ala-C--C-Ala-C--C-- Ala-C--C-Ala-carboxamide [SEQ. ID. NO. 4], acetylated-K-G-S-E-S-G-G-S-E-S-G-Ala-C--C-Ala-C--C-Ala-C--C-Ala-carboxami- de [SEQ. ID. NO. 5], and biotin-Ala-C--C-Ala-C--C-Ala-C--C-Ala-carboxamide [SEQ. ID. NO. 1].
51. The bioactivation peptide according to claim 21, selected from the group consisting of NH2-Ala-C--C-Ala-C--C-Ala-C--C-Ala-carboxamide [SEQ. ID. NO. 1], acetylated-Ala-C--C-Ala-C--C-Ala-C--C-Ala-carboxamide [SEQ. ID. NO. 1], NH2-G-S-E-S-G-G-S-E-S-G-Ala-C--C-Ala-C--C-Ala-C--C-Ala-carboxamide [SEQ. ID. NO. 2], acetylated-G-S-E-S-G-G-S-E-S-G-Ala-C--C-Ala-C--C-Ala-C--C-Ala-carboxamide [SEQ. ID. NO. 10], acetylated-G-S--S--S-G-G-S--S--S-G-Ala-C--C-Ala-C--C-Ala-C--C-Ala-carboxa- mide [SEQ. ID. NO. 3], acetylated-G-P--K--K--K--R--K--V-G-G-S-E-S-G-G-S-E-S-G-Ala-C--C-Ala-C--C-- Ala-C--C-Ala-carboxamide [SEQ. ID. NO. 4], acetylated-K-G-S-E-S-G-G-S-E-S-G-Ala-C--C-Ala-C--C-Ala-C--C-Ala-carboxami- de [SEQ. ID. NO. 5], and biotin-Ala-C--C-Ala-C--C-Ala-C--C-Ala-carboxamide [SEQ. ID. NO. 1], wherein Ala is hydrophobic alanine, C is cysteine, G is glycine, S is serine, E is glutamic acid, P is proline, K is lysine, R is arginine, and V is valine.
 This application is a Continuation of U.S. application Ser. No.
10/513,567, filed Nov. 3, 2004, which is a National Stage of
International Application No. PCT/US2003/014401, filed May 7, 2003, which
claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/378,720, filed
May 7, 2002. Application Ser. No. 10/513,567, International Application
No. PCT/US2003/014401, and U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/378,720
are hereby incorporated by reference in their entirety. Other patent
applications, patents, and other documents referred to in this
application are hereby incorporated by reference in their entirety. This
invention was made with Government support of Grant Nos. EB000312 and
RR014891 awarded by the National Institutes of Health and Grant No.
DE-AC03-76SF00098 awarded by the Department of Energy. The government has
certain rights to this invention.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 1. Field of the Invention
 The present invention relates generally to microparticles and/or nanoparticles that may be used in biological systems. More particularly, the present invention is directed to modifying the surface chemistry of such particles, without using conventional linking agents, to enhance their compatibility with biological systems and to also provide the particles with one or more biological functions.
 2. Description of Related Art
 Fluorescent labeling of biological systems is a well-known analytical tool used in modern biotechnology as well as analytical chemistry. Applications for such fluorescent labeling include technologies such as medical (and non-medical) fluorescence microscopy, histology, flow cytometry, fluorescence in-situ hybridization (medical assays and research), DNA sequencing, immunoassays, binding assays, separation, etc.
 Conventionally, such fluorescent labeling involves the use of an organic dye molecule bonded to a moiety that, in turn, selectively bonds to a particular biological system, the presence of which is then identified by excitation of the dye molecule to cause it to fluoresce. There are a number of problems with such an analytical system. In the first place, the emission of light of visible wavelengths from an excited dye molecule usually is characterized by the presence of a broad spectrum, i.e., the entire emission spectrum is rather broad. As a result, there is a severe limitation on the number of different color organic dye molecules which may be utilized simultaneously or sequentially in an analysis since it is difficult to either simultaneously or even non-simultaneously detect or discriminate between the presence of a number of different detectable substances due to the broad spectrum emissions and emission tails of the labeling molecules. Another problem is that most dye molecules have a relatively narrow absorption spectrum, thus requiring either multiple excitation beams used either in tandem or sequentially for multiple wavelength probes, or else a broad spectrum excitation source which is sequentially used with different filters for sequential excitation of a series of probes respectively excited at different wavelengths.
 Another problem frequently encountered with existing dye molecule labels is that of photostability. Available fluorescent molecules bleach, or irreversibly cease to emit light, under repeated excitation (104-108 cycles of absorption/emission). These problems are often surmounted by minimizing the amount of time that the sample is exposed to light, and by removing oxygen and/or other radical species from the sample. In addition, the probe tools used for the study of systems by electron microscopy techniques are completely different from the probes used for study by fluorescence. Thus, it is not possible to label a material with a single type of probe for both electron microscopy and for fluorescence. This is also the case for multifunctional molecular imaging: Fluorescence+MRI; Fluorescence+PET; Fluorescence+CT; Fluorescence+MRI+PET+CT and any other combination, not even including fluorescence, such as MRI+PET, CT+EM. It would, therefore, be desirable to provide a stable probe material for biological and biomedical applications preferably having a wide absorption band and capable of providing a detectable signal in response to exposure to energy, without the presence of the large red emission tails characteristic of dye molecules (thereby permitting the simultaneous use of a number of such probe materials, each, for example, emitting light of a different narrow wavelength band) and/or capable of scattering or diffracting radiation. It would also be equally desirable to provide a single, stable probe material that can be used to image the same sample by both light and electron microscopy, such as MRI/PET/CT with or without fluorescence.
 Semiconductor nanocrystals (NCs or quantum dots) are fragments of semiconductor material composed of a few hundreds to thousands of atoms. Quantum dots have very interesting optical properties resulting from quantum confinement. This confinement occurs when the particles are smaller than the Bohr exciton radius of the material they are composed of.
 Since the first synthesis of semiconductor nanoparticles, significant progress has been made to control the size and monodispersion of quantum dots in a range of 1 to 7 nanometers (nm). A special interest was given to quantum dots made from material from the II-IV class such as cadmium and selenide (CdSe). CdSe particles covered with a second layer of zinc/sulfide (CdSe/ZnS) emit a strong fluorescent signal in the visible part of the light spectra. Varying the size of the nanocrystals made of these materials by few nanometers allows the tuning of the emission wavelength while the absorption characteristics are similar for each size.
 The chemical synthesis of CdSe/ZnS quantum dots requires a hydrophobic environment and surfactant such as trioctylphosphine oxide (TOPO) in order to control the nucleation between Cd and Se and the growth of the particles. This results in highly hydrophobic particles, poorly soluble in aqueous environments. For biological application using quantum dots as probes, a surface chemistry is thus necessary to remove the surfactant and make the particle biocompatible and soluble in aqueous solvents.
 U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,207,392 and 6,423,551 disclose semiconductor nanocrystal probes for biological applications and processes for making and using such probes. The probes include semiconductor nanocrystals, linking agents and affinity molecules. The contents of this patent are hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.
 In U.S. Pat. No. 5,990,479 organo luminescent semiconductor nanocrystal probes for biological applications and process for making and using such probes are disclosed. The contents of this patent are hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 In accordance with the present invention, particles are bioactivated by attaching bioactivation peptides to the particle surface. The bioactivation peptides are peptide-based compounds that impart one or more biologically important functions to the particles. Each bioactivation peptide includes a molecular or surface recognition part that binds with the surface of the particle and one or more functional parts. The surface recognition part includes an amino-end and a carboxy-end and is composed of one or more hydrophobic spacers and one or more binding clusters. The functional part(s) is attached to the surface recognition part at the amino-end and/or said carboxy-end.
 The present invention provides a method for modulating surface chemistry properties of particles using bioactivation peptides as an organic interface between the particle surface and aqueous media. The peptides provide water solubility and bioactivity to inorganic/metallic/semiconducting nanoparticles as well as organic particles. The use of other prior art compounds (linkers, linking agents) to provide activity and/or solubility to the particle is not necessary. A single bioactivation peptide in accordance with the present invention has a molecular or surface recognition part (MRP or SRP) for the nanoparticle and a functional part (FP). The functional part is attached to one or both ends of the SRP and can include a wide variety of functional agents including a molecular recognition agent for targeting or a chemical handle (conjugation agent) for bioconjugation. The SRP of the bioactivation peptide SRP provides adequate (amino acids) characteristics for the interface between the particle surface and an organic surface (functional agent), and gives the particles protein-like properties. The bioactivation peptide can provide targeting capabilities to the particles by way of interchangeable (signal) sequences and/or addition (conjugation) of a nucleic acid/peptide/protein/antibody already bearing a moiety capable of biorecognition and binding.
 The above discussed and many other features and attendant advantages of the present invention will become better understood by reference to the detailed description when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic representation of a bioactivation peptide in accordance with the present invention attached to the surface of a particle.
 FIG. 2 is a diagrammatic representation of alternate method for making bioactivation particles in accordance with the present invention.
 FIG. 3 is a pictorial representation of the treatment of a particle with bioactivation peptides to increase the solubility of the particle.
 FIG. 4 is a pictorial representation of the treatment of a particle with bioactivation peptides to attach a biotin conjugation agent to the particle.
 FIG. 5 is a pictorial representation of the treatment of a particle with a mixture of two bioactivation peptides.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
 The present invention generally involves converting particles that are biologically non-functional into bioactivated particles that have one or more functional characteristics that are necessary to make the particles useful in biological systems. This is accomplished by attaching bioactivation peptides to the surface of the particles. These specialized peptides are capable of imparting one or more biologically important functions to the particles. As will be discussed in detail below, the bioactivation peptides of the present invention effectively eliminate the need for conventional linking agents that have been used in the past to connect biologically functional groups to particle surfaces. In addition, the use of bioactivation peptides to impart biological function(s) to particles is extremely versatile and relatively simple. It has wide applications to any type of biological system where particles having specific biological functions are required.
 The term "bioactivated particle" is intended to mean any particle that has been treated with bioactivation peptides of the present invention so that the particle has one or more biological functions that it otherwise would not have. Examples of the types of functions that can be imparted to particles using the bioactivation peptides of the present invention include solubility in aqueous mediums, bioconjugation, targeting, therapy, imaging, detection, recognition and diagnosis.
 Numerous types of particles having a wide range of sizes and compositions may be bioactivated. The particles should be sufficiently small to be able to form colloids in solution. The bioactivation peptides may be used to impart biological functions to any of the particles that are used in biological systems and which typically require the use of a linking agent or other surface treatment in order to attach biologically active materials to the particle. Nanoparticles are preferred particles for bioactivation. Such particles will have particle sizes ranging from 0.1 to 100 nanometers. Microparticles having diameters up to about 100 microns may also be bioactivated. Quantum dots as described in the previously referenced patents are particularly well suited for bioactivation using bioactivation peptides in accordance with the present invention. The present invention applies to all types of particle shapes, such as nanowires, nanotubes and nanorods. The bioactivation peptides can bind to the surface of arbitrarily shaped particles, not just spherical micro or nanoparticles.
 The invention may be used to treat particles having a wide range of compositions. Particles composed of inorganic and/or organic materials may be used. Inorganic particles are preferred particles for bioactivation. As mentioned above, the invention may be used to bioactivate any of the various types of particles that typically require initial treatment with linking agents in order to be used in biological systems. Examples of specific particles, such as nanocrystals and semiconductor nanocrystals, are set forth below in more detail.
 A bioactivation peptide in accordance with the present invention is shown diagrammatically in FIG. 1. The bioactivation peptide includes a molecular recognition part (MRP), which is also referred to herein as the surface recognition part (SRP). The SRP is shown bound to the surface of a quantum dot that is composed of a ZnS coated CdSe core. The ZnS coating is shown at 10 and is used only for demonstrative purposes. The bioactivation peptide further includes a functional part that is located at one or both ends of the SRP as shown at "A" and "B". The functional part is made up of one or more functional agents that impart one or more biological functions to the particle.
 The SRP is made up of binding clusters (BC's) and hydrophobic spacers (HS's). As few as one binding cluster and one hydrophobic spacer may be used to form the SRP. However, it is preferred that at least two or more BC's and HS's be used. As shown in FIG. 1, the SRP/MRP includes three BC's and four HS's that alternate sequentially along the SRP. As is the case in any amino acid sequence, the SRP has an amino end and a carboxy end (See FIG. 1). Although it is preferred that a HS be located between each BC, it is not necessary. SRP's are possible where BC's and HS's are grouped together. The number of BC's and HS's that are needed to bind the bioreactive peptide to a given particle surface will vary depending upon a number of parameters including the number of functional agents present in the functional part and the chemical characteristics of the functional agents. In addition, the type of particle surface as well as the particular amino acids used in the SRP must be taken into consideration. The particular number and types of BC's and HS's, as well as their orientation, can be determined by routine experimentation for each different type of particle and functional part.
 The BC's are made up of one or more natural or unnatural amino acids or amino acid derivatives that are capable of binding to the particle surface. Exemplary amino acids include cysteine, methionine, histidine and derivatives thereof. The derivatives may be natural or unnatural. Exemplary amino acid derivatives include 3,3-diphenyl-Ala-OH, 2-amino-3,3-dimethylbutyric acid, (Also see http://www.sigmaaldrich.com/img/assets/6040/chemFiles_yln5_unnaturalaa_sm- all.pdf). The BC preferably includes two amino acids or derivatives and may include as many as 10 amino acids or derivatives. The particular amino acids or derivatives that are used to form the SRP may be the same or different. The make-up of the BC's for any given SRP will vary depending upon the particular functional parts being used and the intended particular particle surface for attachment. The BC make-up can be determined by routine experimentation once the particle to be bioactivated has been selected and the functional agent(s) has been chosen.
 The HS's are composed of a compound that is hydrophobic and capable of binding with the BC's. Although any number of hydrophobic compounds can be used, it is preferred that the HS's include one or more natural or unnatural amino acids or derivatives that have been modified to be hydrophobic. Exemplary modified amino acids include hydrophobic alanine, hydrophobic glycine, hydrophobic isoleucine, hydrophobic leucine, hydrophobic methionine, hydrophobic arginine, hydrophobic valine, hydrophobic tryptophan and derivatives thereof. The preferred modification is to substitute a cyclohexyl group into the amino acid in place of H from the methyl group. Other hydrophobic groups, such as benzene, may be used in place of cyclohexyl. It is preferred that the HS contain a single hydrophobic amino acid. However, up to 10 hydrophobic amino acids may be present in any one HS.
 The functional part (FP) of the bioactivation peptide includes functional agents attached to either the amino end of the SRP (A), the carboxy end of the SRP (B) or both. The functional agent may be anything that is intended to impart a biological function to the particle. Exemplary functional agents include solubility agents, conjugation agents, targeting agents, therapeutic agents, imaging agents, detection agents, recognition agents and diagnostic agents. There may be some overlap in agents since some compounds may serve a dual purpose. The functional agent must be able to bind to the SRP or one of the other agents. The functional part may contain as few as one functional agent, such as a solubility agent, attached to only one end of the SRP. At the other extreme, two, three or more functional agents can be attached to one or both ends of the SRP.
 For bioactivation peptides that are used to treat particles that are not soluble in aqueous media, it is preferred that a solubility agent be included in the functional part as a minimum. Although the solubility agent may be located anywhere, it is preferred that it is attached directly to one or both ends of the SRP. An exemplary solubility agent is a hydrophilic peptide that has from 1 to 100 amino acids. Specific examples include gly-ser-glu-ser-gly-gly-ser-glu-ser-gly (SEQ. ID. NO. 6), gly-ser-ser-ser-gly-gly-ser-ser-ser-gly (SEQ. ID. NO. 7). Numerous other hydrophilic peptides are possible. The solubility agent may also be other known hydrophilic compounds that can be attached to the SRP or a bioconjugation agent. Exemplary other solubility agents include polyethylene glycol, poly(ethylene oxide), polyelectrolytes and sugars. Sugars, such as cellobiose, sucrose and sialic acid are suitable. Exemplary polyelectrolytes include polyethylene imine.
 The following is a list of various functional agents, other than solubility agents, that is intended to be exemplary only. As will be appreciated numerous other functional agents may be attached to the SRP to form bioactivation peptides in accordance with the present invention.  Conjugation agents: biotin, avidin, streptavidin and derivatives, lysine, cysteine, aspartic acid, glutamic acid-terminated peptides (with reactive groups amines, thyoles, carboxyl, unnaturals, keto).  Targeting agents: antibodies, enzyme substrate, receptor ligands.  Therapeutic agents: taxol, herceptin.  Imaging agents: Fluorescin, bromophenyl blue, Iodine, Yttrium, Tritium, Metallotexaphyrins, many radioactive reagents, MRI enhancing reagents, PET, CT, etc.  Detection agents: the same or similar to the above-listed imaging agents.  Recognition agents: same imaging/therapeutics conjugated to antibodies and/or recognition peptides.  Diagnostic agents: any of the above listed agents may be used as a diagnostic agent.
 Demonstrative examples of bioactivation peptides in accordance with the present invention are listed below
 Bioactivation Peptides with Solubility/Conjugation Agents--  (amide or acetyl)-MRP-hydrophilic peptide-biotin or avidin/streptavidin  biotin-hydrophilic peptide-MRP carboxamide  biotin-MRP-carboxamide  carboxamide-MRP-hydrophilic peptide-NHS ester  carboxamide-MRP-hydrophilic peptide-keto group  DNA oligo-hydrophilic peptide-MRP carboxamide  keto, thiols will allow orthogonal conjugation to different peptides (on the same nanoparticles or on different particles in the same suspension)
 Bioactivation Peptides with Solubility/Tumor Targeting Agents:  (amide or acetyl)-MRP hydrophilic peptide-transferrin (or an antibody to one of the tumor receptors)  transferrin-hydrophilic peptide-MRP-carboxamide  tumor targeting sequence-hydrophilic peptide-MRP-carboxamide  DNA oligo-hydrophilic peptide-MRP-carboxamide  transferrin-hydrophilic peptide-MRP-hydrophilic peptide-transferrin Other agents include antibody, minibody, single chain fragment, . . .
 Bioactivation Peptides with Solubility Agents  Amide or acetyl-MRP-hydrophilic peptide  hydrophilic peptide-MRP-carboxyl  hydrophilic peptide-MRP-carboxamide  succinyl-hydrophilic peptide-MRP carboxamide  hydrophilic peptide-MRP-hydrophilic peptide  PEG-hydrophilic peptide-MRP-carboxamide  PEG-MRP-hydrophilic peptide
 Other exemplary functional agents include 1,4,7,10-tetraazacyclodoecane-1,4,7,10-tetraacetic acid (DOTA), Ni-NTA, I, Yt, C as well as many types of chelators, metallic ions, isotopes, and magnetic materials.
 The MRP of the bioactivation peptides may be made by simple peptide synthesis protocols that are well established: The various functional agents are attached to the MRP or other functional agent by peptide synthesis or known conjugation techniques for the particular agent. The bioactivation peptides may be completely synthesized with all of its functional agents being attached prior to mixing with particles. Alternately, a bioactivation peptide may be attached to a particle with only part of the total intended functional agents attached. The remainder of the functional agents may then be attached at a later time. Referring to FIG. 2, the two above procedures are diagrammatically shown for making the same bioactivated particle in which the bioactivation peptide is A1-A2-MRP-B. In the top portion of FIG. 2, a bioactivation peptide. (A1-MRP-B) is mixed with the particles to form a bioactivated particle having A1 and B functionality. This bioactive particle is then mixed with A2 to form the final bioactivated particles that has A1, A2 and B functionality. This type of two-step procedure is particularly useful when A1 is a solubility agent that is used to form a "stock" solution of soluble particles that can be used immediately or stored for use at a later time to form bioactivated particles having a number of different A2 functional agents. As shown at the bottom of FIG. 2, the A1-A2-MRP-B bioactivated particle can also be made in a single step.
 The preceding single and multiple step synthesis protocols are exemplary only with it being understood that the same basic procedures may be used to produce bioactivated particles having many more functional agents attached to one or both ends the MRP. In addition, FIG. 2 only shows the addition of a single type of bioactivation peptide to the particle. In many situations, it is desirable to attach different bioactivation peptides to the same particle. Each of the bioactivation peptides may carry a single different functional agent or they may each have multiple functional agents.
 An example of a bioactivated particle having multiple bioactivation peptides is set forth below. The bioactivated particle provides for targeting, imaging and therapy all in one vehicle. The bioactivated particle is formed by simply treating the particle with the following mixture of four different bioactivation peptides:
TABLE-US-00001 1) MRP-peg solubility agent +2) MRP-hydrophilic peptide-transferrin targeting agent +3) MRP-hydrophilic peptide-tyrosin- (nuclear) imaging DOTA-Iodine agent +4) MRP-hydrophilic peptide-therapeutic molecue therapeutic agent
 Another example involves treating the particle to be bioactivated with a multi-functional bioactivation peptide as follows
TABLE-US-00002 1) MRP-peg-biotin solubility agent + targeting agents 2) MRP-peg-NLS-biotin solubility agent + targeting/detection agent 1 + targeting/detection agent 2 3) MRP-hydrophilic peptide-targeting solubility agent + sequence-protease cleavage sequence- targeting/detection agent 1 + membrane crossing sequence substrate + recognition/targeting agent 2
 The following examples demonstrate some of the many different types of bioactivation peptides and bioactivated particles that can be prepared and used in accordance with the present invention. The bioactivation peptides set forth in these example have the formula:
A-[Ala-C--C-Ala-C--C-Ala-C--C-Ala]-B  where the central sequence is the SRP (MRP) and A and B are the functional parts. A and B are either the same or different and independently comprise a polypeptide group, an acetyl group, an amine group, a carboxamide group or a biotin group, Ala is alanine substituted with a hydrophobic group, and C is cysteine.
 Preferred hydrophobic groups are cyclohexyl groups, thus a preferred bioactivation peptide coating for particles, such as semiconductor nanocrystals, have the sequence Cha-C--C-Cha-C--C-Cha-C--C-Cha (SEQ. ID. NO. 1), where Cha is cyclohexyl alanine.
 The bioactivation peptides are applied directly to semiconductor nanocrystals without the use of a separate linking agent. The bioactivation peptide gives the particles molecular recognition capabilities and water/buffer solubility. The particles can be conjugated to other molecules and can be given other desired properties by the large diversity offered by amino acids (hydrophobic/hydrophilic interactions and ionic/charge interactions). The invention is useful for NCs fluorescent probe targeting, targeting of particles to body parts (tumors) for x-ray medical imaging (x-ray of element specific core level and possibly others) and for x-ray photodynamic/photothermal therapy (delivering free radicals/heat to element specific core level via absorption of monochromatic x-ray).
 The bioactivation peptides also allow self-assembly of organic-inorganic nanostructure hybrids by molecular recognition. They allow interfacing enzymes, biocatalysts and other proteins/RNA catalysts to nanoparticles to produce nano-machines/molecular machines that can be activated by light and/or charge. For example, charge generated by light in the nanoparticle can be separated and transferred to the protein to trigger enzymatic reaction, catalysis etc. (yielding, for example, light activated/triggered therapeutics.
 By use of the terms "nanometer crystal" or "nanocrystal" herein is meant an organic or inorganic crystal particle, preferably a single crystal particle, having an average cross-section no larger than about 20 nanometers (nm) or 20×10-9 meters (200 Angstroms), preferably no larger than about 10 nm (100 Angstroms) and a minimum average cross-section of about 1 nm, although in some instances a smaller average cross-section nanocrystal, i.e., down to about 0.5 nm (5 Angstroms), may be acceptable. Typically the nanocrystal will have an average cross-section ranging in size from about 1 nm (10 Angstroms) to about 10 nm (100 Angstroms).)
 By use of the term "semiconductor nanocrystal" is meant a nanometer crystal or nanocrystal of Group II-VI and/or Group III-V semiconductor compounds capable of emitting electromagnetic radiation upon excitation, although the use of Group IV semiconductors such as germanium or silicon, or the use of organic semiconductors, may be feasible under certain conditions.
 The term "radiation," as used herein, is meant to include electromagnetic radiation, including x-ray, gamma, ultra-violet, visible, infrared, and microwave radiation; and particle radiation, including electron beam, beta, and alpha particle radiation.
 The term "energy" is intended to include electromagnetic radiation, particle radiation, and fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET). As used herein, the term "first energy is meant the energy to which a semiconductor nanocrystal, within a semiconductor nanocrystal compound or within a semiconductor nanocrystal probe, in response to exposure to a first energy. It should be noted that different nanocrystals, when exposed to the same "first energy," may respectively provide "second energies" which differ from one another, and the use of the term "second energy," when used in connection with a plurality of semiconductor nanocrystals will be understood to refer to either second energies which are the same or to a plurality of different second energies.
 By the use of the term "energy transfer" is meant the transfer of energy from one atom or molecule to another atom or molecule by either radiative or non-radiative pathways.
 The term "proximal source" is meant an atom, a molecule, or any other substance that is capable of transferring energy to and/or receiving energy transferred from another atom or molecule or any other substance.
 The term "proximal structure" as used herein may be an atom, a molecule, or any other substance (e.g., a polymer, a gel, a lipid bilayer, and any substance bonded directly to a semiconductor nanocrystal probe) that is capable of receiving energy transferred from another atom or molecule or other substance (including a semiconductor nanocrystal probe).
 By use of the term "a narrow wavelength band," with regard to the electromagnetic radiation emission of the semiconductor nanocrystal, is meant a wavelength band of emissions not exceeding about 40 nm, and preferably not exceeding about 30 nm in width and symmetric about the center, in contrast to the emission bandwidth of about 70-100 nm for a typical dye molecule, with a red tail which may extend the bandwidth out as much as another 100 nm. It should be noted that the bandwidths referred to are determined from measurement of the width of the emissions at half peak height (FWHM), and are appropriate in the range of 200 nm to 2000 nm.
 By use of the term "a broad wavelength band," with regard to the electromagnetic radiation absorption of the semiconductor nanocrystal is meant absorption of radiation having a wavelength equal to, or shorter than, the wavelength of the onset radiation (the onset radiation is understood to be the longest wavelength (lowest energy) radiation capable of being absorbed by the semiconductor nanocrystal), which occurs near to, but at slightly higher energy than the "narrow wavelength band" of the emission. This is in contrast to the "narrow absorption band" of dye molecules that occurs near the emission peak on the high-energy side, but drops off rapidly away from that wavelength and is often negligible at wavelengths further than 100 nm from the emission.
 The term "detectable signal," as used herein, is meant to include emission by the semiconductor nanocrystal of electromagnetic radiation, including visible or infrared or ultraviolet light and thermal emission; and any other signal or change in signal emanating from the semiconductor nanocrystal evidencing scattering (including diffraction) and/or absorption in response to exposure of the semiconductor nanocrystal to radiation.
 By use of the term "detectable substance" is meant an entity or group or class of groups, the presence or absence of which, in a material such as a biological material, is to be ascertained by use of the semiconductor nanocrystal probe of the invention.
 The semiconductor nanocrystals useful in the practice of the invention and this example include nanocrystals of Group II-VI semiconductors such as MgS, MgSe, MgTe, CaS, CaSe, CaTe, SrS, SrSe, SrTe, BaS, BaSe, BaTe, ZnS, ZnSe, ZnTe, CdS, CdSe, CdTe, HgS, HgSe, and HgTe as well as mixed compositions thereof; as well as nanocrystals of Group III-V semiconductors such as GaAs, InGaAs, InP, and InAs and mixed compositions thereof. As mentioned above, the use of Group IV semiconductors such as germanium or silicon, or the use of organic semiconductors, may also be feasible under certain conditions. The semiconductor nanocrystals may also include alloys comprising two or more semiconductors selected from the group consisting of the above Group III-V compounds, Group II-VI compounds, Group IV elements, and combinations of same.
 Formation of nanometer crystals of Group III-V semiconductors is described in. Alivisatos et al. U.S. Pat. No. 5,751,018; Alivisatos et al. U.S. Pat. No. 5,505,928; and Alivisatos et al. U.S. Pat. No. 5,262,357, which also describes the formation of Group II-VI semiconductor nanocrystals, and which is also assigned to the assignee of this invention. Also described therein is the control of the size of the semiconductor nanocrystals during formation using crystal growth terminators: The teachings of Alivisatos et al. U.S. Pat. No. 5,751,018, and Alivisatos et al. U.S. Pat. No. 5,262,357 are each hereby specifically incorporated by reference.
 In one embodiment, the nanocrystals are used in a core/shell configuration wherein a first semiconductor nanocrystal forms a core ranging in diameter, for example, from about 20 Å to about 100 Å, with a shell of another semiconductor nanocrystal material grown over the core nanocrystal to a thickness of, for example, 1-10 monolayers in thickness. When, for example, a 1-10 monolayer thick shell of CdS or ZnS is epitaxially grown over a core of CdSe, there is a dramatic increase in the room temperature photoluminescence quantum yield. Formation of such core/shell nanocrystals is described more fully in a publication by one of us with others entitled "Epitaxial Growth of Highly Luminescent CdSe/CdS Core/Shell Nanocrystals with Photostability and Electronic Accessibility," by Peng, Schlamp, Kadavanich, and Alivisatos, published in the Journal of the American. Chemical Society, Volume 119, No. 30, 1997, at pages 7019-7029, the subject matter of which is hereby specifically incorporated herein by reference.
 The semiconductor nanocrystals used in these examples will have a capability of absorbing radiation over a broad wavelength band. This wavelength band includes the range from gamma radiation to microwave radiation. In addition, these semiconductor nanocrystals will have a capability of emitting radiation within a narrow wavelength band of about 40 nm or less, preferably about 30 nm or less, thus permitting the simultaneous use of a plurality of differently colored semiconductor nanocrystal probes with different semiconductor nanocrystals without overlap (or with a small amount of overlap) in wavelengths of emitted light when exposed to the same energy source. Both the absorption and emission properties of semiconductor nanocrystals may serve as advantages over dye molecules that have narrow wavelength bands of absorption (e.g., about 30-50 nm) and broad wavelength bands of emission (e.g. about 100 nm) and broad tails of emission (e.g., another 100 nm) on the red side of the spectrum. Both of these properties of dyes impair the ability to use a plurality of differently colored dyes when exposed to the same energy source.
 Furthermore, the frequency or wavelength of the narrow wavelength band of light emitted from the semiconductor nanocrystal may be further selected according to physical properties, such as size, of the semiconductor nanocrystal. The wavelength band of light emitted by the semiconductor nanocrystal, formed using the above embodiment, may be determined by either (1) the size of the core, or (2) the size of the core and the size of the shell, depending on the composition of the core and shell of the semiconductor nanocrystal. For example, a nanocrystal composed of a 3 nm core of CdSe and a 2 nm thick shell of ZnS will emit a narrow wavelength band of light with a peak intensity wavelength of 560 nm.
 A plurality of alternatives to changing the size of the semiconductor nanocrystal in order to selectively manipulate the emission wavelength of semiconductor nanocrystals exists. These alternatives include: (1) varying the composition of the nanocrystal, and (2) adding a plurality of shells around the core of the nanocrystal in the form of concentric shells. It should be noted that different wavelengths can also be obtained in multiple shell type semiconductor nanocrystals by respectively using different semiconductor nanocrystals in different shells, i.e., by not using the same semiconductor nanocrystal in each of the plurality of concentric shells.
 Selection of the emission wavelength by varying the composition, or alloy, of the semiconductor nanocrystal is old in the art. As an illustration, when a CdS semiconductor nanocrystal, having an emission wavelength of 400 nm, may be alloyed with a CdSe semiconductor nanocrystal, having an emission wavelength of 530 nm. When a nanocrystal is prepared using an alloy of CdS and CdSe, the wavelength of the emission from a plurality of identically sized nanocrystals may be tuned continuously from 400 nm to 530 nm depending on the ratio of S to Se present in the nanocrystal. The ability to select from different emission wavelengths while maintaining the same size of the semiconductor nanocrystal may be important in applications which require the semiconductor nanocrystals to be uniform in size, or for example, an application which requires all semiconductor nanocrystals to have very small dimensions when used in application with steric restrictions.
 This could include matching of redox potential between inorganic NCs (bandgap and surface states) to redox potential of peptide/protein inorganic-organic conjugates for efficient electron transfer between the two. For example: Light activated enzymes.
 The bioactivation peptides in these examples were designed to recognize and bind the surface of CdSe/ZnS quantum dot nanoparticles. It is to be understood that the peptide sequence and coatings of this example will also coat and function with particles other than quantum dots. Amino acids with chemical and physical characteristics (hydrophilicity/hydrophobicity, charges and reactivity) allow the binding of the ZnS layer of nanoparticles (of approximately 2-10 nm in size, though it is to be understood that the invention is not limited to nanoparticles of this size.
 A non-limiting example of the MRP is Cha-C--C-Cha-C--C-Cha-C--C-Cha (SEQ. ID. NO. 1) with Cha standing for Cyclohexyl alanine and C for cysteine. It is to be understood that the invention does not require alanine to be substituted with a cyclohexyl group; however, cyclohexyl groups are preferred. All synthesis used N-Boc or F-moc protecting groups and sequences may be N-acetylated and/or C-carboxylated. The bioactivation peptides are added directly onto the particles and allowed to form a good dispersion of the quantum dots in DMSO and subsequently yielded stable and highly monodisperse dilutions of the nanocrystals in water and buffer. Stability in water and buffers is enhanced by the addition of a hydrophilic sequence at the N-terminus of the Cha-C--C-Cha . . . sequence. The following sequence was used: G-S-E-S-G-G-S-E-S-G-Cha-C--C-Cha-C--C-Cha-C--C-Cha (SEQ. ID. NO. 2).
 In accordance with this example, various sequences of different length are attached on the surface of CdSe/ZnS nanoparticle with the same Cha-C--C-Cha-C--C-Cha-C--C-Cha MRP sequence being present. Table 1 sets forth examples of various bioactivation peptide sequences used to solubilize quantum dots.
TABLE-US-00003 TABLE 1 Various Peptide Sequences to Solubilize Quantum Dots Name Sequence ChaCha NH2-Cha-C-C-Cha-C-C-Cha-C-C-Cha-Carboxamide (SEQ. ID. NO. 1) ChaCha acetylated-Cha-C-C-Cha-C-C-Cha-C-C-Cha-Carboxarnide acetylated ChaCha E NH2-G-S-E-S-G-G-S-E-S-G-Cha-C-C-Cha-C-C-Cha-C-C- swimmer Cha-Carboxamide, (SEQ. ID. NO. 2) CH3 acetylated-G-S-E-S-G-G-S-E-S-G-Cha-C-C-Cha-C-C- Cha-C-C-Cha-Carboxamide (SEQ. ID. NO. 6) COOH acetylated-G-S-S-S-G-G-S-S-S-G-Cha-C-C-Cha-C-C- Cha-C-C-Cha-Carboxamide (SEQ. ID. NO. 3) NLS acetylated-G-P-K-K-K-R-K-V-G-G-S-E-S-G-G-S-E-S-G- Cha-C-C-Cha-C-C-Cha-C-C-Cha-Carboxamide (SEQ. ID. NO. 4) K swimmer acetylated-K-G-S-E-S-G-G-S-E-S-G-Cha-C-C-Cha-C-C- Cha-C-C-Cha-Carboxamide (SEQ. ID. NO. 5) Biotin Biotin-Cha-C-C-Cha-C-C-Cha-C-C-Cha-Carboxamide
 While not wishing to be bound by any particular theory or principle, it is believed that the binding on surface of the peptide is promoted by the presence of cysteines or other amino acid binding clusters that can be chelated or covalently bound on Zn at the surface of the particle. The spacing between two adjacent cysteines is thought to be similar to that of two Zn (3.82 A). Multiple repeats of cysteine/Zn double bounds probably increases the stability of the peptides on surface. The presence of hydrophobic amino acid spacers in between cysteine clusters also favors the stability of Zn/Cysteine bound by water exclusion and is important for surface ordering (minimizes energy levels at the surface/water interface). The inclusion of hydrophilic amino acids at the N-terminal enhances the solubility of the nanoparticle and provides chemical handles for further chemistry and bioconjugation. This example contemplates that a wide variety of chemical groups can be added on the surface of quantum dots by careful selection of amino acids in accordance with the desired target molecule. In addition, active sequences can be directly dialed in the peptide sequence leading to bio-activated semiconductor nanoparticles. Bioconjugation using linking compounds to attach active molecules to particles can thus be shortcut in some cases.
 The unique capability of the bioactivation sequences to bind the surface of CdSe/ZnS nanocrystals was demonstrated by solubilization assays using sequences of ChaCha E swimmer in which the hydrophobic cyclohexyl alanine HS's were replaced by alanine. This substitution led to aggregations of particles during the reaction and thus lack of migration on electrophoresis gels. Similarly replacing the cysteines in the binding clusters with alanine gave unstable particles that flocculate rapidly after solubilization in aqueous solvents. The use of random peptide sequences as the MRP also failed to solubilize nanoparticles.
 Peptide sequences from Table 1 were also shown to react directly on CdSe core in addition to the ZnS layer. The quantum dot core can be, solubilized directly in water and will maintain a sufficient fluorescent signal to be detected on agarose gels. As expected, the bandwidth of the CdSe in the gel is small since the size distribution of cores is more homogenous than that of core/shell particles. Cores migrate further in the gel since they are smaller than core/shells.
 Once soluble in water, quantum dots are usually purified from excess peptides. Purification can be done via dialysis techniques or ultra-filtration on membrane of given molecular weight cut off (MWCO).
 The presence of bioactivation peptides on the surface of the quantum dot particles was confirmed by Fournier Transform Infrared studies on purified quantum dots. Particles were dried from water under a nitrogen flow and prepared in KBr pellets. The spectra showed strong absorbance at wave numbers corresponding to typical amide I and amide II bands in the peptide covered quantum dots. These bands were detected for the preparation of peptides alone in the same condition but were lacking for nanocrystals dried from TOPO/butanol.
 The optical properties of water-soluble particles are similar to that of the nanocrystals in hydrophobic solvents. Absorption and emission spectra are unaffected by the presence of the bioactivation peptides on the surface.
 The physical characterization of soluble semiconductor nanoparticles also shows that the monodispersion of quantum dots is conserved after the addition of bioactivation peptides on the particle surface. Each nanocrystal is solubilized without forming aggregates. Statistics of size distribution by AFM and TEM before and after solubilization in aqueous solvents confirm the absence of aggregates and show that the nanocrystals are unaffected by the surface chemistry.
 Since quantum dots covered with bioactivation peptides are moriodisperse, biocompatible and soluble in aqueous environment they can be easily analyzed with standard biological techniques such as gel electrophoresis or High Pressure Liquid Chromatography (HPLC). Nanocrystals, as shown previously, can easily migrate in agarose and polyacrylamide gels. For gel electrophoresis, the migration distance can be correlated to the molecular weight of the nanocrystals (thus to their size) and/or to the charge on the particles. The charge on the particles is influenced by the charge of the bioactivation peptides used. Different size particles covered with the same bioactivation peptides are expected to bear a similar charge. Yet since they have different sizes they should migrate at different position on a gel. This size separation was demonstrated on agarose gels for three colors quantum dots of different sizes (Green: 2.7 nm; Yellow: 5.2 nm and Red: 7.0 nm). Such separations were reproducible at different percentage of agarose gels (3-0.5%), in polyacrylamide gels, for different voltages and Using different bioactivation peptides. Size exclusion HPLC experiments confirmed that the separation of nanocrystals was effectively by size and that the effect of the charge during the chromatography on gel did not influence significantly this separation.
 As is apparent from the above, a unique bioactivation peptide sequence can be used to solubilize different size particles with clear separation of these particles by size still being possible. Alternatively, it is possible to solubilize one size particle with different kinds of bioactivation peptide sequences (Table 1). As postulated earlier, the charge around a soluble quantum dot is influenced by the charge of the peptides used. It is thus possible to modify the charge of a given size of particles simply by choosing bioactivation peptides of different charges. To verify this property, the same batch of green nanocrystals was solubilized with 4 different peptide sequences of various charges corresponding to the sequences in Table 1 (SEQ. ID. NOS. 4, 3, 6 and 2). The four preparations were purified and then loaded on agarose gels for electrophoresis analysis and on a SEC HPLC column for chromatographic characterization. It was observed that the same size nanocrystals with different charged bioactivation peptides migrate to different positions. Yet, when separated under conditions where no electric field is applied (by size only), all the particles have the same retention time, thus similar molecular weight and similar size.
 The use of bioactivation peptides attached to quantum dots not only provides water solubility and chemical handles, but also allows the control of the charge, and possibly other properties such as hydrophobicity, hydrophilicity, polarity, and reactivity Simply by varying the bioactivation peptides, it is possible to engineer semiconductor nanoparticles and to dial in desired characteristics.
 These examples of the invention demonstrate that the use of bioactivation peptides to modify semiconductor nanoparticles offers multiple advantages. Apart from full biocompatibility, this chemistry is extremely versatile and various chemical groups, natural or unnatural, can be introduced by a simple change of amino acids. In addition peptide synthesis chemistry has been widely used and is extremely well characterized. This offers full control of what is on the surface of the quantum dots. Any chemical group present in proteins can be added to the MRP as a functional group and thus on the nanocrystals surface. From the thiol of a cysteine, the N-terminal amine of any amino acids, to more complex histidine tags, or even active sequences (NLS, peptidase responsive sequences . . . ) may be added to the MRP. Simple chemical groups (NH2, COOH, SH, OH . . . ) can be used for further bioconjugation using conventional reagents and protocols.
 The attachment of a biotin moiety on the surface of CdSe/ZnS semiconductors is shown diagrammatically in FIG. 4 using succinimidyl chemistry with the reaction of a NHS-biotin on the N-terminal amine of a peptide sequence on the surface of particles. The presence of biotin on the particle surface is detected by a simple gel retardation assay in the presence of Streptavidin.
 As mentioned previously, the nanoparticles can be directly encoded in one step if the peptide sequences used for solubilization contain an active element. This element can be a biotin (Table 1), or a targeting peptide sequence. This invention contemplates that bioconjugation steps can be skipped by bio-activating quantum dots with motif peptides that are included in the peptide sequence to be attached to the CdSe/ZnS nanocrystals surfaces.
 The use of bioactivation peptides to provide biological functions to quantum dots offers an easy, reproducible, versatile and reliable chemistry. It yields biocompatible particles on which any known bioconjugation scheme can be applied. The invention is unique in the sense that it is a one step chemical reaction requiring no spacer, pretreatment or preparation of the nanocrystal surfaces with linkers or other surface modulation grids. The binding is highly specific, probably covalent, by chelation, cysteine or other binding cluster on the surface of the peptide to ions on the surface of the nanoparticle. The invention uses the unique properties of amino acids to make a stable interface with inorganic or organic materials present on the particle surface. This invention, as described herein, allows the binding of any peptide surface or proteins (when presenting the required sequence) to photon emitting particles and other semiconductors, magnetic, radioactive, dielectric and metal particles.
 The present invention is useful in various fields including peptide library screening/Phage display; in vivo/in vitro drug screening and mass screening (using encoded quantum dots able to respond to drug stimulus by targeting a specific part of a cell); in vivo/in vitro multicolor assays (all quantum dots application in fluorescence microscopy (Confocal), fluorescence in-situ hybridization (FISH), fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS), flow cytometry, beads encoding); transmission electron microscopy (cell staining for enhanced contrast of sub cellular compartments for transmission electron microscopy (TEM)), cryogenic electron microscopy (CryoEM); atomic force microscopy (AFM) (use as probes/standards in AFM/confocal combinations; Assays based on peptide/peptide interaction (scratch peptide technology), histidin (HIS) tag, protein/peptide interaction (nuclear localization signal/sequence (NLS)) signal sequence, protease responsive sequence, phosphatase responsive sequence . . . ), peptide/DNA interaction (DNA groove, Zn fingers, leucine Zippers . . . ), and peptide/RNA interaction; molecular dynamic of Ab/Ag interactions by single molecule detection/quenching or single molecule fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET); molecular rules (FRET, co-localization), molecular compass (rods+Qdots); crystallography 2D, 3D arrays for protein structure analysis, or photoluminescence devices; solid phase hybridization assay using quantum dots as a support (DNA directly on Qdots, efficiency determined by quenching or fluorescence enhancement) polymerase chain reaction (PCR); enzyme kinetics assays; bar code system by assembly of various amounts and various types of quantum dots (peptide Velcro technology or antisense peptides); therapy using semiconductor properties (mitochondria electron flux disruption, neurological application with electron jumping); photo-activation of enzyme using conducting peptides (cytochrome C); use of complex nanostructures for biocompatible devices, or for their catalytic properties; peptide-nucleic acid (PNA) technology.
 The following is a non-limiting example of solubilization (bioactivation) of CdSe/ZnS quantum dots as depicted in FIG. 3:  25 μl of TOPO coated quantum dots were taken from the mother solution in butanol (Mother solution consisted of 40 mg CdSe core reacted with ZnS in a final volume of Butanol+TOPO of about 8 ml).  the QD's were precipitated with 25 μl methanol and centrifuged in a glass vial  the residual methanol was discarded  the paste was re-dissolved with 650 μl of pyridine (anhydrous)  4.0 mg (this amount is not fixed, but variable and is easily determined by the amount of QD's in pyridine) of crude peptide (any one of the bioactivation peptides identified in Table 1) was weighed and dissolved in DMSO (50 μl) and mixed with the QD's in pyridine  this mixture was vortexed for 10 seconds  next was added 14 μl of Trimethyl ammonium hydroxide (25% in Methanol)  this mixture was vortexed quickly for 20 seconds  centrifuged  then the residual pyridine was discarded  next 500 μl of methyl sulfoxide (DMSO) was added on the precipitate  the precipitate was then re-dissolved and then diluted in water/buffer for exchange DMSO against water/buffer on a G-25 sephadex column
 An example of the preparation of bioactivated nanoparticles having two different bioactivation peptides attached to the particle surfaces is shown pictorially in FIG. 5 and described as follows:  25 to 30 μl of TOPO coated quantum dots (QD's) were taken from the mother solution in TOPO/butanol.  Precipitated with methanol (anhydrous) and centrifuge in a glass vial.  The residual methanol was discarded.  The paste was re-dissolved with pyridine (anhydrous) to an Optical Density at the first exciton peak of 0.25.  2.0 mg of crude biotinylated peptides biotin-hydrophilic peptide-MRP carboxamide) and 2.0 mg of pegylated peptides peg-MRP carboxamide) were weighed, mixed and dissolved in 50 μl Methyl Sulfoxide (DMSO) and mixed with 450 μl of QD's in pyridine.  The mixture was vortexed for 5 seconds.  Then 12 μl of Trimethyl ammonium hydroxyde (25% (w/v) in Methanol) is added.  Mixture was mixed quickly for 5 seconds.  Centrifuged.  The residual pyridine (supernatant) was discarded.  The paste of bioactivated nanocrystalline particles obtained was then dissolved with 500 μl of DMSO  The precipitate was allowed to slowly re-dissolve in DMSO and then was diluted in water/buffer or exchanged against water/buffer on a G-25 sephadex column.  The bioactivated nanocrystalline particles in water/buffer were dialyzed to purify the samples from unbound excess peptides.
 As set forth in the preceding example, modulation of the NCs properties using different peptides can be achieved. We initially solubilized NCs with a biotinylated peptide (Biotin--Table 1) and tested this biotin-NC substrate for activity in a gel shift experiment with streptavidin (see FIG. 4). This substrate appears to be efficiently recognized by both streptavidin and avidin. This shows that NCs can directly be bio-activated without a need for bioconjugation. While bioconjugation usually requires some post-reaction purifications and analysis of the conjugation efficiency, the use of directly active peptides in accordance with the present invention significantly simplifies the production of bioactive NCs. No further processing of the samples is required after peptide coating. Yet, we also confirmed that conjugation of bio-molecules to the NCs was possible using conventional linkers. We used a succinimidyl ester derivatized biotin to attach a biotin moiety on the terminal amine or on the lysine residue of NCs coated with a bioactivation peptide. Similar results to that of biotinylated peptides directly reacted on the NCs were obtained by gel shift assays.
 Although the biotinylated bioactivation peptide coated NCs were able to react well with streptavidin targets in solution, they were less efficient when tested against immobilized avidin and streptavidin proteins (e.g., 96 wells plate format, streptavidin on actin filaments). We assumed that this lack of activity in "solid phase" was related to steric hindrance problems of the active peptides on the NCs surface. This hindrance may limit the freedom of interaction of the biotin with its target. To overcome this problem we mixed different amounts of bioactivation peptides: one targeting peptide, biotin-hydrophilic peptide-MRP carboxamide, and a shorter peptide with a solubility agent peg-MRP carboxamide on the surface of the NCs. This ratiometric approach allows one to improve the molecular interaction of NCs with their target. The non-active shorter peptide sequence was chosen not only to reduce the steric hindrance but also to improve the solubility of the NCs. Short pegylated bioactivation peptides containing the surface recognition part and one or more polyethylene glycol groups could efficiently solubilize the NCs, improve the reactivity of other bioreactive peptides and also allowed decreases of non specific binding without affecting the colloidal and photophysical properties of the particles.
 This new approach for the surface chemistry allowed us to perform the first targeting of bioactivation peptide coated NCs in living cells. NCs-biotin-peg conjugates (biotin-hydrophilic peptide-MRP-carboxamide plus peg-MRP-carboxamide) were reacted on living HeLa cells over-expressing CD14 receptors fused with an avidin. The CD14 receptors are part of the glycosyl-phophatidyl-inositol (GPI) anchored proteins family. This chimeric CD14-avidin protein is thus very useful to study the dynamics of lipid-anchored receptors in the cytoplasmic membrane of living cells as well as their recycling. The use of bioactivated NCs, in this context, offer the unique advantages of allowing long-term and real-time studies of these processes with single molecule sensitivity. We found that NCs-biotin-peg conjugates can specifically recognize the over-expressed CD14-Av fusion proteins. Movies of the recycling processes of CD14 receptors in living HeLa cells could easily be produced taking advantage of the high photostability of the NCs probes. This type of bioactivated NC probe in accordance with the present invention allows one to analyze the diffusion times and diffusion patterns of single CD14-Av-biotin-peg-NCs as well CD14-Av-biotin-peg-NCs endocytic vesicles in different part of living HeLa cells (membrane, endosome, golgi) in order to shine light on the molecular behavior of CD14 receptors. These results may allow a better understanding of the molecular dynamics of glycosyl-phophatidyl-inositol (GPI) anchored proteins.
 Although the foregoing invention has been described in some detail for purposes of clarity of understanding, those skilled in the art will appreciate that various adaptations and modifications of the just described preferred embodiments can be configured without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention. The described embodiments should be taken as illustrative and not restrictive, and the invention should not be limited to the details given herein but should be defined by the following claims and their full scope of equivalents.
11110PRTArtificial SequenceSynthetic Peptide 1Xaa Cys Cys Xaa Cys Cys Xaa Cys Cys Xaa1 5 10220PRTArtificial SequenceSynthetic Peptide 2Gly Ser Glu Ser Gly Gly Ser Glu Ser Gly Xaa Cys Cys Xaa Cys Cys1 5 10 15Xaa Cys Cys Xaa 20320PRTArtificial SequenceSynthetic Peptide 3Gly Ser Ser Ser Gly Gly Ser Ser Ser Gly Xaa Cys Cys Xaa Cys Cys1 5 10 15Xaa Cys Cys Xaa 20429PRTArtificial SequenceSynthetic Peptide 4Gly Pro Lys Lys Lys Arg Lys Val Gly Gly Ser Glu Ser Gly Gly Ser1 5 10 15Glu Ser Gly Xaa Cys Cys Xaa Cys Cys Xaa Cys Cys Xaa 20 25521PRTArtificial SequenceSynthetic Peptide 5Lys Gly Ser Glu Ser Gly Gly Ser Glu Ser Gly Xaa Cys Cys Xaa Cys1 5 10 15Cys Xaa Cys Cys Xaa 20610PRTArtificial SequenceSynthetic Peptide 6Gly Ser Glu Ser Gly Gly Ser Glu Ser Gly1 5 10710PRTArtificial SequenceSynthetic Peptide 7Gly Ser Ser Ser Gly Gly Ser Ser Ser Gly1 5 10819PRTArtificial SequenceSynthetic Peptide 8Gly Pro Lys Lys Lys Arg Lys Val Gly Gly Ser Glu Ser Gly Gly Ser1 5 10 15Glu Ser Gly911PRTArtificial SequenceSynthetic Peptide 9Lys Gly Ser Glu Ser Gly Gly Ser Glu Ser Gly1 5 101020PRTArtificial SequenceSynthetic Peptide 10Gly Ser Glu Ser Gly Gly Ser Glu Ser Gly Xaa Cys Cys Xaa Cys Cys1 5 10 15Xaa Cys Cys Xaa 201110PRTArtificial SequenceDescription of Artificial Sequence Synthetic peptide 11Xaa Cys Cys Xaa Cys Cys Xaa Cys Cys Xaa1 5 10
Patent applications by Fabien Pinaud, Los Angeles, CA US
Patent applications by Shimon Weiss, Los Angeles, CA US
Patent applications by THE REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
Patent applications in class Particulate matter (e.g., sphere, flake, etc.)
Patent applications in all subclasses Particulate matter (e.g., sphere, flake, etc.)