The development of modern molecular and cellular biology has provided valuable techniques such as fluorescence microscopy, confocal microscopy, and flow cytometry, to monitor cellular functions and the expression level of specific molecules. Recently, making use of the strong plasmonic enhancement of light scattering by gold or silver nanoparticles, nanotechnology has improved the ability to detect and sense molecular information in single living cells. Here, we discuss our newly developed technique, Targeted-Plasmonically Enhanced Single Cell Imaging Spectroscopy (T-PESCIS)1, which allows the simultaneous acquisition of Rayleigh scattering and Raman scattering to obtain cellular imaging and molecular information. Nuclear-targeted gold nanoparticles were employed to target and amplify the signals of molecules at the nucleus of human oral squamous cell carcinoma (HSC-3) cells. This technique allowed the investigation into the cellular and molecular changes on the single, living cell level throughout the whole cell cycle or until external chemicals induce cell death.1, 2 Furthermore, we were able to correlate the obtained Raman spectra to molecular events associated with programmed cell death, or apoptosis.3
1. Kang, B.; Austin, L. A.; El-Sayed, M. A. Real-Time Molecular Imaging throughout the Entire Cell Cycle by Targeted Plasmonic-Enhanced Rayleigh/Raman Spectroscopy. Nano Lett. 2012, 12, 5369-5375. 2. Austin, L. A.; Kang, B.; El-Sayed, M. A. A New Nanotechnology Technique for Determining Drug Efficacy Using Targeted Plasmonically Enhanced Single Cell Imaging Spectroscopy. JACS 2013, 135, 4688-4691. 3. Kang, B.; Austin, L. A.; El-Sayed, M. A. Dynamics of Apoptosis in Living Cancer Cells: Observing Molecular Events in Real-Time using Nuclear Targeted SERS Nanoprobes. ACS Nano 2014, in preparation.
Prof. M. El-Sayed (404-894-0292)