Jump to main content
Jump to site search

Organelle-targeting Surface-Enhanced Raman Scattering (SERS) Nanosensors for Subcellular pH Sensing


The pH of subcellular organelles in living cells is a momentous parameter in the physiological activities of cells. Its abnormal fluctuations are commonly believed to be associated with cancers and other diseases. Herein, a series of surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) nanosensors with high sensitivity and targeting function for the quantification and monitoring of pH values in mitochondria, nucleus and lysosome were prepared. The nanosensors were composed of gold nanorods (AuNRs) functionalized with pH responsive molecule (4-mercaptopyridine, MPy) and peptides that can specifically deliver the AuNRs to the targeting subcellular organelles. The localization of our prepared nanoprobes in specific organelles was confirmed by super-high resolution florescence imaging and bio-transmission electron microscopic (TEM) methods. By the targeting ability, the pH values of the specific organelles can be determined by monitoring the vibrational spectral changes of MPy along with different pH values. In comparison with the reported lysosome and cytoplasm SERS pH sensors, more accurate pH values of mitochondria and nucleus were disclosed by this SERS approach, which can be two additional intracellular tracers for subcellular microenvironments and further improving the accuracy of related diseases discrimination. Our sensitive SERS strategy can also be employed to explore crucial physiological and biological processes that are related to subcellular pH fluctuation.

Back to tab navigation

Supplementary files

Publication details

The article was accepted on 25 Nov 2017 and first published on 27 Nov 2017

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7NR08636A
Citation: Nanoscale, 2017, Accepted Manuscript
  •   Request permissions

    Organelle-targeting Surface-Enhanced Raman Scattering (SERS) Nanosensors for Subcellular pH Sensing

    Y. Shen, L. Liang, S. Zhang, D. Huang, J. Zhang, S. Xu, C. Liang and W. Xu, Nanoscale, 2017, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C7NR08636A

Search articles by author