The Akt proteins are some of the most well-known members of the serine/threonine-specific protein kinases, responsible for multiple aspects of cell growth. Akt mutations are also present in a statistically significant percentage of primary and metastatic tumors with high kinase activity correlated with tumor metastasis, chemotherapy resistance, radiotherapy resistance, and enhanced angiogenesis. Investigation of Akt kinase activity in cells is usually performed by kinase assays and Western blotting using phosphorylation-specific antibodies, which are invasive in nature and may not reflect the nature of Akt kinase activity in live models. We present a method to pair delivery of short-interfering RNA via plasmonically tuned gold nanoparticles with a novel Akt molecular substrate to achieve noninvasive monitoring of phosphorylation events in live animal models. The temporal and spatial control of our siRNA delivery will enable scientists to study protein and drug interactions which were previously impossible.
Project end date: 08/12/10