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J Am Chem Soc. 2004 Feb 18;126(6):1640-1.

Gatekeeping layer effect: a poly(lactic acid)-coated mesoporous silica nanosphere-based fluorescence probe for detection of amino-containing neurotransmitters.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011-3111, USA.


We have synthesized a poly(lactic acid) coated MCM-41-type mesoporous silica nanosphere (PLA-MSN) material can serve as a fluorescence sensor system for detection of amino-containing neurotransmitters in neutral aqueous buffer. Utilizing the PLA layer as a gatekeeper, we investigated the molecular recognition events between several structurally simple neurotransmitters, i.e., dopamine, tyrosine, and glutamic acid and a pore surface-anchored o-phthalic hemithioacetal (OPTA) group, which functions as a fluorescence-sensing group that can react with the neurotransmitters with primary amine groups and form the corresponding fluorescent isoindole products. The poly(lactic acid) layer of the PLA-MSN sensor showed a unique "sieving" effect that regulates the rates of diffusion of the amino acid-based neurotransmitters into the sensor mesopores of the material.

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