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Engineered Ferritin with Eu3+ as a Bright Nanovector: A Photoluminescence Study

  • Authors: Affatigato, Luisa; Sciortino, Alice; Sancataldo, Giuseppe; Incocciati, Alessio; Piacentini, Roberta; Bonamore, Alessandra; Cannas, Marco; Messina, Fabrizio; Licciardi, Mariano; Militello, Valeria
  • Publication year: 2022
  • Type: Articolo in rivista
  • OA Link:


Ferritin nanoparticles play many important roles in theranostic and bioengineering applications and have been successfully used as nanovectors for the targeted delivery of drugs due to their ability to specifically bind the transferrin receptor (TfR1, or CD71). They can be either genetically or chemically modified for encapsulating therapeutics or probes in their inner cavity. Here, we analyzed a new engineered ferritin nanoparticle, made of the H chain mouse ferritin (HFt) fused with a specific lanthanide binding tag (LBT). The HFt-LBT has one high affinity lanthanide binding site per each of the 24 subunits and a tryptophane residue within the tag that acts as an antenna able to transfer the energy to the lanthanide ions via a LRET process. In this study, among lanthanides, we selected europium for its red emission that allows to reduce overlap with tissue auto-fluorescence. Steady state emission measurements and time-resolved emission spectroscopy have been employed to investigate the interaction between the HFt-LBT and the Eu3+ ions. This allowed us to identify the Eu3+ energy states involved in the process and to pave the way for the future use of HFt-LBT Eu3+ complex in theranostics.