Staff member

Silvia Pujals Riatós

Senior Researcher
Nanoscopy for Nanomedicine
+34 934 020 517
Staff member publications

Delcanale, Pietro, Miret-Ontiveros, Bernat, Arista-Romero, Maria, Pujals, Silvia, Albertazzi, Lorenzo, (2018). Nanoscale mapping functional sites on nanoparticles by Points Accumulation for Imaging in Nanoscale Topography (PAINT) ACS Nano 12, (8), 7629-7637

The ability of nanoparticles to selectively recognize a molecular target constitutes the key toward nanomedicine applications such as drug delivery and diagnostics. The activity of such devices is mediated by the presence of multiple copies of functional molecules on the nanostructure surface. Therefore, understanding the number and the distribution of nanoparticle functional groups is of utmost importance for the rational design of effective materials. Analytical methods are available, but to obtain quantitative information at the level of single particles and single functional sites, i.e., going beyond the ensemble, remains highly challenging. Here we introduce the use of an optical nanoscopy technique, DNA points accumulation for imaging in nanoscale topography (DNA-PAINT), to address this issue. Combining subdiffraction spatial resolution with molecular selectivity and sensitivity, DNA-PAINT provides both geometrical and functional information at the level of a single nanostructure. We show how DNA-PAINT can be used to image and quantify relevant functional proteins such as antibodies and streptavidin on nanoparticles and microparticles with nanometric accuracy in 3D and multiple colors. The generality and the applicability of our method without the need for fluorescent labeling hold great promise for the robust quantitative nanocharacterization of functional nanomaterials.

Feiner-Gracia, Natalia, Buzhor, Marina, Fuentes, Edgar, Pujals, S., Amir, Roey J., Albertazzi, Lorenzo, (2017). Micellar stability in biological media dictates internalization in living cells Journal of the American Chemical Society 139, (46), 16677-16687

The dynamic nature of polymeric assemblies makes their stability in biological media a crucial parameter for their potential use as drug delivery systems in vivo. Therefore, it is essential to study and understand the behavior of self-assembled nanocarriers under conditions that will be encountered in vivo such as extreme dilutions and interactions with blood proteins and cells. Herein, using a combination of fluorescence spectroscopy and microscopy, we studied four amphiphilic PEG–dendron hybrids and their self-assembled micelles in order to determine their structure–stability relations. The high molecular precision of the dendritic block enabled us to systematically tune the hydrophobicity and stability of the assembled micelles. Using micelles that change their fluorescent properties upon disassembly, we observed that serum proteins bind to and interact with the polymeric amphiphiles in both their assembled and monomeric states. These interactions strongly affected the stability and enzymatic degradation of the micelles. Finally, using spectrally resolved confocal imaging, we determined the relations between the stability of the polymeric assemblies in biological media and their cell entry. Our results highlight the important interplay between molecular structure, micellar stability, and cell internalization pathways, pinpointing the high sensitivity of stability–activity relations to minor structural changes and the crucial role that these relations play in designing effective polymeric nanostructures for biomedical applications.

Pujals, S., Tao, K., Terradellas, A., Gazit, E., Albertazzi, L., (2017). Studying structure and dynamics of self-Assembled peptide nanostructures using fluorescence and super resolution microscopy Chemical Communications 53, (53), 7294-7297

Understanding the formation and properties of self-Assembled peptide nanostructures is the basis for the design of new architectures for various applications. Here we show the potential of fluorescence and super resolution imaging to unveil the structural and dynamic features of peptide nanofibers with high spatiotemporal resolution.