Multifunctional silver nanocluster-hybrid oligonucleotide vehicle for cell imaging and microRNA-targeted gene silencing

Hau Yun Chen, Karunya Albert, Cheng Che Wen, Pei Ying Hsieh, Sih Yu Chen, Nei Chung Huang, Shen Chuan Lo, Jen Kun Chen, Hsin-Yun Hsu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Novel therapeutics is urgently needed to prevent cancer-related deaths. MicroRNAs that act as tumor suppressors have been recognized as a next-generation tumor therapy, and the restoration of tumor-suppressive microRNAs using microRNA replacements or mimics may be a less toxic, more effective strategy due to fewer off-target effects. Here, we designed the novel multifunctional oligonucleotide nanocarrier complex composed of a tumor-targeting aptamer sequence specific to mucin 1 (MUC1), poly-cytosine region for fluorescent silver nanocluster (AgNC) synthesis, and complimentary sequence for microRNA miR-34a loading. MiR-34a was employed because of its therapeutic effect of inhibiting oncogene expression and inducing apoptosis in carcinomas. By monitoring the intrinsic fluorescence of AgNC, it was clearly shown that the constructed complex (MUC1-AgNCm-miR-34a) enters MCF-7 cells. To evaluate the efficacy of this nanocarrier for microRNA delivery, we investigated the gene and protein expression levels of downstream miR-34a targets (BCL-2, CDK6, and CCND1) by quantitative PCR and western blotting, respectively, and the results indicated their effective inhibition by miR-34a. This novel multifunctional AgNC-based nanocarrier can aid in improving the efficacy of breast cancer theranostics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)423-431
Number of pages9
JournalColloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2017


  • Cancer theranostics
  • Human breast adenocarcinoma
  • RNAi
  • Silver nanocluster
  • microRNA


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