Article

Quantum dot-fluorescent protein FRET probes for sensing intracellular pH.

Department of Biomedical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University, 313 Ferst Drive, Atlanta, Georgia 30332, United States.
ACS Nano (Impact Factor: 12.03). 03/2012; 6(4):2917-24.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Intracellular pH (pH(i)) plays a critical role in the physiological and pathophysiological processes of cells, and fluorescence imaging using pH-sensitive indicators provides a powerful tool to assess the pH(i) of intact cells and subcellular compartments. Here we describe a nanoparticle-based ratiometric pH sensor, comprising a bright and photostable semiconductor quantum dot (QD) and pH-sensitive fluorescent proteins (FPs), exhibiting dramatically improved sensitivity and photostability compared to BCECF, the most widely used fluorescent dye for pH imaging. We found that Förster resonance energy transfer between the QD and multiple FPs modulates the FP/QD emission ratio, exhibiting a >12-fold change between pH 6 and 8. The modularity of the probe enables customization to specific biological applications through genetic engineering of the FPs, as illustrated by the altered pH range of the probe through mutagenesis of the fluorescent protein. The QD-FP probes facilitate visualization of the acidification of endosomes in living cells following polyarginine-mediated uptake. These probes have the potential to enjoy a wide range of intracellular pH imaging applications that may not be feasible with fluorescent proteins or organic fluorophores alone.

0 Bookmarks
 · 
203 Views
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Particle-based nanosensors offer a tool for determining the pH in the endosomal-lysosomal system of living cells. Measurements providing absolute values of pH have so far been restricted by the limited sensitivity range of nanosensors, calibration challenges and the complexity of image analysis. This protocol describes the design and application of a polyacrylamide-based nanosensor (∼60 nm) that covalently incorporates two pH-sensitive fluorophores, fluorescein (FS) and Oregon Green (OG), to broaden the sensitivity range of the sensor (pH 3.1-7.0), and uses the pH-insensitive fluorophore rhodamine as a reference fluorophore. The nanosensors are spontaneously taken up via endocytosis and directed to the lysosomes where dynamic changes in pH can be measured with live-cell confocal microscopy. The most important focus areas of the protocol are the choice of pH-sensitive fluorophores, the design of calibration buffers, the determination of the effective range and especially the description of how to critically evaluate results. The entire procedure typically takes 2-3 weeks.
    Nature Protocols 12/2014; 9(12):2841-58. · 7.78 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Particle-based fluorescence sensors for the quantification of specific ions can be made by coupling ion-sensitive fluorophores to carrier particles, or by using intrinsically fluorescent particles whose fluorescence properties depend on the concentration of the ions. Despite the advantages of such particle-based sensors for the quantitative detection of ions, such as the possibility to tune the surface chemistry and thus entry portal of the sensor particles to cells, they have also some associated problems. Problems involve for example crosstalk of the ion-sensitive fluorescence read-out with pH, or spectral overlap of the emission spectra of different fluorescent particles in multiplexing formats. Here the benefits of using particle-based fluorescence sensors, their limitations and strategies to overcome these limitations will be described and exemplified with selected examples.
    Current Opinion in Pharmacology 09/2014; 18:98–103. · 4.23 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We have developed a new ratiometric pH sensor based on poly(N-phenylmaleimide) (PPMI)-containing block copolymer that emits three different fluorescent colors depending on the pH. The strong solvatochromism and tautomerism of the PPMI derivatives enabled precise pH sensing for almost the entire range of the pH scale. Theoretical calculations have predicted largely dissimilar band gaps for the keto, enol, and enolate tautomers of PPMI owing to low dimensional conjugation effects. The tunable emission wavelength and intensity of our sensors, as well as the reversible color switching with high luminescent contrast, were achieved using rational molecular design of PPMI analogues as an innovative platform for accurate H+ detection. The self-assembly of block copolymers on the nanometer length scale was particularly highlighted as a novel prospective means of regulating fluorescence properties while avoiding the self-quenching phenomenon, and this system can be used as a fast responsive pH sensor in versatile device forms.
    ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 12/2014; · 5.90 Impact Factor

Full-text

Download
303 Downloads
Available from
May 16, 2014