Date of Graduation

Spring 2024


Master of Science in Biology



Committee Chair

Kyoungtae Kim


Despite the promising applications of Quantum Dots (QDs) in the biomedical field, the long-lasting effects of QDs on the cell remain poorly understood. To comprehend the mechanisms underlying the toxic effects of QDs in yeast, I characterized defects associated with receptor-mediated endocytosis (RME) as well as on pinocytosis using Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a model in the presence of CdSe/ZnS QDs. My findings revealed that QDs led to an inefficient RME at the early, intermediate, and late stage of endocytic patch maturation at the endocytic site, with the prolonged lifespan of GFP-fused yeast fimbrin (Sac6-GFP), a late marker of endocytosis. The transit of FM1-43, a lipophilic dye from the plasma membrane to the vacuole, was severely retarded in the presence of QDs. QDs caused an accumulation of monomeric red fluorescent protein fused carbamoyl phosphate synthetase 1 (mRFP-Cps1), a vacuolar lumen marker in the vacuolar lumen. Finally, I observed increased recruitment of Pil1-GFP, an eisosome marker, in a similarly treated condition. In summary, the present study provides novel insights into the possible interaction of CdSe/ZnS QDs at the endocytic machinery, enabling a deeper comprehension of QD toxicity.


yeast, quantum dot, toxicity, endocytosis, pinocytosis, vacuole, eisosome.

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© Onyinye Dorathy Okafor

Available for download on Thursday, May 01, 2025

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