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BSA-Coated Nanoparticles for Improved SERS-Based Intracellular pH Sensing

Zheng, Xiao-Shan, Hu, Pei, Cui, Yan, Zong, Cheng, Feng, Jia-Min, Wang, Xin, Ren, Bin
Analytical chemistry 2014 v.86 no.24 pp. 12250-12257
Raman spectroscopy, biocompatibility, cell culture, culture media, gold, ionic strength, nanoparticles, pH, storage
Local microenvironment pH sensing is one of the key parameters for the understanding of many biological processes. As a noninvasive and high sensitive technique, surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) has attracted considerable interest in the detection of the local pH of live cells. We herein develop a facile way to prepare Au-(4-MPy)-BSA (AMB) pH nanosensor. The 4-MPy (4-mercaptopyridine) was used as the pH sensing molecule. The modification of the nanoparticles with BSA not only provides a high sensitive response to pH changes ranging from pH 4.0 to 9.0 but also exhibits a high sensitivity and good biocompatibility, stability, and reliability in various solutions (including the solutions of high ionic strength or with complex composition such as the cell culture medium), both in the aggregation state or after long-term storage. The AMB pH nanosensor shows great advantages for reliable intracellular pH analysis and has been successfully used to monitor the pH distribution of live cells and can address the grand challenges in SERS-based pH sensing for practical biological applications.