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Label-free fluorescence imaging of cytochrome c in living body and anti-cancer drugs screening with nitrogen doped carbon quantum dots

Abstract

As an important biomarker for the early stage of apoptosis, cytochrome c (Cyt c) has been recognized as a key component of the intrinsic apoptotic pathway. Fluorescence imaging tools enabling detection of Cyt c in apoptotic signaling have been rarely explored, though they are critical for cell biology and clinical theranostics. Here, we designed a novel label-free N-doped carbon dots (N-doped CDs)-based nanosensor that enables fluorescence activation imaging of Cyt c release in cell apoptosis. The inner filter effect of Cyt c towards N-doped CDs enabled quantitative Cyt c measurement. The nanosensor exhibited high sensitivity and selectivity, rapid response, good cell-membrane permeability and low cytotoxicity. All these features are favorable for in situ visualization of Cyt c for apoptosis research. Notably, the developed nanosensor had been successfully applied to monitor intracellular release of Cyt c, and to visualize Cyt c in living zebrafish for the first time. Moreover, it also provided a viable platform for cell-based screening of apoptosis-inducing compounds. In virtue of these advantages and potentials, the developed assay not only hold great significance for the better understanding of certain diseases on a cellular level, but also provide an invaluable platform for apoptotic studies and screening of anti-cancer drugs toward drug development.

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Publication details

The article was received on 02 Dec 2017, accepted on 11 Feb 2018 and first published on 13 Feb 2018


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7NR08987B
Citation: Nanoscale, 2018, Accepted Manuscript
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    Label-free fluorescence imaging of cytochrome c in living body and anti-cancer drugs screening with nitrogen doped carbon quantum dots

    H. Zhang, B. Zhang, C. Di, M. C. Ali, J. Chen, Z. Li, J. Si, H. Zhang and H. Qiu, Nanoscale, 2018, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C7NR08987B

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