Disclosed herein are methods and materials by which nanostructures such as carbon nanotubes, nanorods, etc. are bound to lectins and/or polysaccharides and prepared for administration to cells. Also disclosed are complexes comprising glycosylated nanostructures, which bind selectively to cells expressing glycosylated surface molecules recognized by the lectin. Exemplified is a complex comprising a carbon nanotube functionalized with a lipid-like alkane, linked to a polymer bearing repeated .alpha.-N-acetylgalactosamine sugar groups. This complex is shown to selectively adhere to the surface of living cells, without toxicity. In the exemplified embodiment, adherence is mediated by a multivalent lectin, which binds both to the cells and the .alpha.-N-acetylgalactosamine groups on the nanostructure.
STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENTAL SUPPORT
This invention was made with U.S. Government support under Contract Number DE-AC02-05CH11231 between the U.S. Department of Energy and The Regents of the University of California for the management and operation of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The U.S. Government has certain rights in this invention.