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Nat Protoc. 2012 Sep;7(9):1618-33. doi: 10.1038/nprot.2012.087. Epub 2012 Aug 9.

Surface functionalization of barium titanate SHG nanoprobes for in vivo imaging in zebrafish.

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Division of Biology, Beckman Institute, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, USA.


To address the need for a bright, photostable labeling tool that allows long-term in vivo imaging in whole organisms, we recently introduced second harmonic generating (SHG) nanoprobes. Here we present a protocol for the preparation and use of a particular SHG nanoprobe label, barium titanate (BT), for in vivo imaging in living zebrafish embryos. Chemical treatment of the BT nanoparticles results in surface coating with amine-terminal groups, which act as a platform for a variety of chemical modifications for biological applications. Here we describe cross-linking of BT to a biotin-linked moiety using click chemistry methods and coating of BT with nonreactive poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG). We also provide details for injecting PEG-coated SHG nanoprobes into zygote-stage zebrafish embryos, and in vivo imaging of SHG nanoprobes during gastrulation and segmentation. Implementing the PROCEDURE requires a basic understanding of laser-scanning microscopy, experience with handling zebrafish embryos and chemistry laboratory experience. Functionalization of the SHG nanoprobes takes ∼3 d, whereas zebrafish preparation, injection and imaging setup should take approximately 2-4 h.

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