Preparation and Characterization of Dentin Phosphophoryn-Derived Peptide-Functionalized Lignin Nanoparticles for Enhanced Cellular Uptake

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Research units

  • University of Helsinki
  • University of Illinois at Chicago


The surface modification of nanoparticles (NPs) using different ligands is a common strategy to increase NP−cell interactions. Here, dentin phosphophoryn-derived peptide (DSS) lignin nanoparticles (LNPs) are prepared and characterized, the cellular internalization of the DSS-functionalized LNPs (LNPs-DSS) into three different cancer cell lines is evaluated, and their efficacy with the widely used iRGD peptide is compared. It is shown that controlled extent of carboxylation of lignin improves the stability at physiological conditions of LNPs formed upon solvent exchange. Functionalization with DSS and iRGD peptides maintains the spherical morphology and moderate polydispersity of LNPs. The LNPs exhibit good cytocompatibility when cultured with PC3-MM2, MDA-MB-231, and A549 in the conventional 2D model and in the 3D cell spheroid morphology. Importantly, the 3D cell models reveal augmented internalization of peptide-functionalized LNPs and improve antiproliferative effects when the LNPs are loaded with a cytotoxic compound. Overall, LNPs-DSS show equal or even superior cellular internalization than the LNPs-iRGD, suggesting that DSS can also be used to enhance the cellular uptake of NPs into different types of cells, and release different cargos intracellularly.


Original languageEnglish
Article number1901427
Number of pages14
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Research areas

  • 3D cell culture, benzazulene, biofunctionalization, dentin phosphophoryn peptide, lignin nanoparticles

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