Cellular uptake mechanisms of functionalised multi-walled carbon nanotubes by 3D electron tomography imaging

Controlling the covalent bonding of antibodies onto functionalized carbon nanotubes is a key step in the design and preparation of nanotube-based conjugates for targeting cancer cells. For this purpose, an anti-MUC1 antibody (Ab) is linked to both multiwalled (MWCNTs) and double-walled carbon nanotubes (DWCNTs) using different synthetic strategies. The presence of the Ab attached to the nanotubes is confirmed by gel electrophoresis and thermogravimetric analysis. Most importantly, molecular recognition of the antigen by surface plasmon resonance is able to determine similar Ab binding capacities for both Ab–DWCNTs and Ab–MWCNTs. These results are very relevant for the design of future receptor-targeting strategies using chemically functionalized carbon nanotubes.