Gold nanobeacons for tracking gene silencing in zebrafish

Milton Cordeiro, Lara Carvalho, Joana Silva, Leonor Saúde, Alexandra R. Fernandes, Pedro V. Baptista

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


The use of gold nanoparticles for effective gene silencing has demonstrated its potential as a tool for gene expression experiments and for the treatment of several diseases. Here, we used a gold nanobeacon designed to specifically silence the enhanced green fluorescence protein (EGFP) mRNA in embryos of a fli-EGFP transgenic zebrafish line, while simultaneously allowing the tracking and localization of the silencing events via the beacon’s emission. Fluorescence imaging measurements demonstrated a decrease of the EGFP emission with a concomitant increase in the fluorescence of the Au-nanobeacon. Furthermore, microinjection of the Au-nanobeacon led to a negligible difference in mortality and malformations in comparison to the free oligonucleotide, indicating that this system is a biocompatible platform for the administration of gene silencing moieties. Together, these data illustrate the potential of Au-nanobeacons as tools for in vivo zebrafish gene modulation with low toxicity which may be used towards any gene of interest.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • Fli-EGFP
  • Gene silencing
  • Gold nanobeacons
  • Gold nanoparticles
  • Zebrafish


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