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Biomaterials. 2016 Jul;93:38-47. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2016.03.045. Epub 2016 Mar 31.

Real-time imaging and tracking of ultrastable organic dye nanoparticles in living cells.

Author information

1
Institute of Functional Nano & Soft Materials (FUNSOM), Jiangsu Key Laboratory for Carbon-Based Functional Materials & Devices, Soochow University, Suzhou, Jiangsu 215123, PR China.
2
School of Chemistry and Forensic Sciences, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Bradford, BD7 1DP, United Kingdom. Electronic address: xianfeng_chen@hotmail.com.
3
Institute of Functional Nano & Soft Materials (FUNSOM), Jiangsu Key Laboratory for Carbon-Based Functional Materials & Devices, Soochow University, Suzhou, Jiangsu 215123, PR China. Electronic address: xjzhang@suda.edu.cn.

Abstract

Semiconductor quantum dots and upconversion nanoparticles have been broadly used for live cell imaging due to their color tunability and photostability etc. However, these inorganic materials often contain heavy metals and potentially have metabolism problems. To overcome these issues, herein, we report a type of organic dye nanoparticles (NPs) with coating of a thin silica layer and folic acid targeting molecules on the surface for live cell imaging. These organic NPs possess superior characteristics of high fluorescence intensity, large Stokes shift, good photostability, emission in the NIR range, and targeted delivery, enabling them to be a powerful fluorescent probe for living cell imaging. In our study, we successfully demonstrate their applications in investigating cell division, exploring the cellular uptake kinetics and pathway of NPs, observing the distribution of NPs, and live-time tracking the trajectory of specific NPs. Considering the excellent properties and unique clathrin- and caveollae-independent intracellular uptake pathway, we expect that this type of organic dye NPs will play an important role in live cell imaging.

KEYWORDS:

Live cell imaging; Live-time tracking; Near-infrared emission; Organic fluorescence probes; Organic nanoparticles

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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