Multicolored pH-tunable and activatable fluorescence nanoplatform responsive to physiologic pH stimuli

Kejin Zhou, Haoming Liu, Shanrong Zhang, Xiaonan Huang, Yiguang Wang, Gang Huang, Baran D. Sumer, Jinming Gao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

211 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Tunable, ultra-pH responsive fluorescent nanoparticles with multichromatic emissions are highly valuable in a variety of biological studies, such as endocytic trafficking, endosome/lysosome maturation, and pH regulation in subcellular organelles. Small differences (e.g., <1 pH unit) and yet finely regulated physiological pH inside different endocytic compartments present a huge challenge to the design of such a system. Herein, we report a general strategy to produce pH-tunable, highly activatable multicolored fluorescent nanoparticles using commonly available pH-insensitive dyes with emission wavelengths from green to near IR range. The primary driving force of fluorescence activation between the ON (unimer) and OFF (micelle) states is the pH-induced micellization. Among three possible photochemical mechanisms, homo Förster resonance energy transfer (homoFRET)-enhanced decay was found to be the most facile strategy to render ultra-pH response over the H-dimer and photoinduced electron transfer (PeT) mechanisms. Based on this insight, we selected several fluorophores with small Stoke shifts (<40 nm) and established a panel of multicolored nanoparticles with wide emission range (500-820 nm) and different pH transitions. Each nanoparticle maintained the sharp pH response (ON/OFF < 0.25 pH unit) with corresponding pH transition point at pH 5.2, 6.4, 6.9, and 7.2. Incubation of a mixture of multicolored nanoparticles with human H2009 lung cancer cells demonstrated sequential activation of the nanoparticles inside endocytic compartments directly correlating with their pH transitions. This multicolored, pH-tunable nanoplatform offers exciting opportunities for the study of many important cell physiological processes, such as pH regulation and endocytic trafficking of subcellular organelles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7803-7811
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Volume134
Issue number18
DOIs
StatePublished - May 9 2012

Fingerprint

Fluorescence
Nanoparticles
Chemical activation
Micellization
Fluorophores
Micelles
Dimers
Energy transfer
Coloring Agents
Dyes
Cells
Organelles
Wavelength
Electrons
Cell Physiological Phenomena
Endosomes
Energy Transfer
Lysosomes
Lung Neoplasms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Catalysis
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry

Cite this

Multicolored pH-tunable and activatable fluorescence nanoplatform responsive to physiologic pH stimuli. / Zhou, Kejin; Liu, Haoming; Zhang, Shanrong; Huang, Xiaonan; Wang, Yiguang; Huang, Gang; Sumer, Baran D.; Gao, Jinming.

In: Journal of the American Chemical Society, Vol. 134, No. 18, 09.05.2012, p. 7803-7811.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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