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ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2018 Jan 17;10(2):2051-2057. doi: 10.1021/acsami.7b16949. Epub 2018 Jan 3.

In Situ Synthesized Silver Nanoclusters for Tracking the Role of Telomerase Activity in the Differentiation of Mesenchymal Stem Cells to Neural Stem Cells.

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Shanghai Key Laboratory of Green Chemistry and Chemical Processes, Department of Chemistry, School of Chemistry and Molecular Engineering, East China Normal University , Dongchuan Road 500, Shanghai 200241, China.


Human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) have potential use in cell replacement therapy for central nervous system disorders. However, the factors that impacted the differentiation process are unclear at the present stage because the powerful analytical method is the bottleneck. Herein, a novel strategy was developed for self-imaging and biosensing of telomerase activity in stem cells, using in situ biosynthesized silver nanoclusters (AgNCs) full of C bases. The present AgNCs possess synthetic convenience, long-time stability, and cytocompatibility. The weak fluorescence of these AgNCs is quickly turned on when approaching telomerase because of the strong interaction between C bases on AgNCs and G bases in telomerase, resulting in telomerase-dependent fluorescent signals. The developed method demonstrated high sensitivity and selectivity and broad dynamic linear range with a low detection limit. Using this powerful tool, it was first discovered that telomerase activity plays important roles in the proliferation of hMSCs and neural stem cells (NSCs) as well as during the differentiation processes from hMSCs to NSCs.


fluorescence; in situ synthesis; silver nanoclusters; stem cells; telomerase activity

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