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Issue 9, 2015
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Local pH tracking in living cells

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Continuous and simultaneous 3D single-particle movement and local pH detection in HeLa cells were demonstrated for the first time by combining fluorescent mesoporous silica nanoparticles (FMSNs) and a single-particle tracking (SPT) technique with a precision of ∼10 nm. FMSNs, synthesized by the co-condensation of both pH-sensitive and reference dyes with a silica/surfactant source, allow long-term reliable ratiometric pH measurements with a precision better than 0.3 pH unit because of their excellent brightness and stability. pH variation in the surrounding area of FMSNs during endocytosis was monitored in real-time. Acidification and low mobility of FMSNs were observed at the early endocytic stage, whereas basification and high mobility of FMSNs were observed at the late stage. Our results indicate that it is possible to monitor local pH changes in the environments surrounding nanoparticles during the cellular uptake process of FMSNs, which provides much needed information for designing an efficient drug delivery nanosystem.

Graphical abstract: Local pH tracking in living cells

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The article was received on 06 Nov 2014, accepted on 30 Jan 2015 and first published on 02 Feb 2015

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C4NR06545J
Author version available: Download Author version (PDF)
Citation: Nanoscale, 2015,7, 4217-4225
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    Local pH tracking in living cells

    C. Tsou, C. Hsia, J. Chu, Y. Hung, Y. Chen, F. Chien, K. C. Chou, P. Chen and C. Mou, Nanoscale, 2015, 7, 4217
    DOI: 10.1039/C4NR06545J

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