Four amphiphilic covalently linked meso-tetraphenylchlorin-chitosan nanoconjugates were synthesized and evaluated for use in photochemical internalization (PCI) in vitro and in vivo. The synthetic protocol for the preparation of two different hydrophobic chlorin photosensitizers, 5-(4-aminophenyl)-10,15,20-triphenylchlorin and 5-(4-carboxyphenyl)-10,15,20-triphenylchlorin, was optimized. These monofunctional photosensitizers were covalently attached to carrier chitosan via silyl-protected 3,6-di-O-tert-butyldimethylsilyl-chitosan (Di-TBDMS-chitosan) with 0.10 degree of substitution per glucosamine (DS). Hydrophilic moieties such as trimethylamine and/or 1-methylpiperazine were incorporated with 0.9 DS to give fully water-soluble conjugates after removal of the TBDMS groups. A dynamic light scattering (DLS) study confirmed the formation of nanoparticles with a 140-200 nm diameter. These nanoconjugates could be activated at 650 nm (red region) light, with a fluorescence quantum yield (ΦF) of 0.43-0.45, and are thus suitable candidates for use in PCI. These nanoconjugates were taken up and localized in the endocytic vesicles of HCT116/LUC human colon carcinoma cells, and upon illumination they substantially enhanced plasmid DNA transfection. The nanoconjugates were also evaluated in preliminary in vivo experiments in tumor-bearing mice, showing that the nanoconjugates could induce a strong photodynamic therapy (PDT) and also PCI effects in treatment with bleomycin.