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International Journal of Analytical Chemistry
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 390182, 16 pages
Review Article

Live Cells as Dynamic Laboratories: Time Lapse Raman Spectral Microscopy of Nanoparticles with Both IgE Targeting and pH-Sensing Functions

1Decision Applications Division, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM 87545, USA
2Chemistry Division, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM 87545, USA

Received 1 March 2012; Accepted 1 May 2012

Academic Editor: Bahram Hemmateenejad

Copyright © 2012 Kristy L. Nowak-Lovato and Kirk D. Rector. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This review captures the use of live cells as dynamic microlaboratories through implementation of labeled nanoparticles (nanosensors) that have both sensing and targeting functions. The addition of 2,4-ε-dinitrophenol-L-lysine (DNP) as a FcεRI targeting ligand and 4-mercaptopyridine (4-MPy) as a pH-sensing ligand enables spatial and temporal monitoring of FcεRI receptors and their pH environment within the endocytic pathway. To ensure reliability, the sensor is calibrated in vivo using the ionophore nigericin and standard buffer solutions to equilibrate the external [H+] concentration with that of the cell compartments. This review highlights the nanosensors, ability to traffic and respond to pH of receptor-bound nanosensors (1) at physiological temperature (37°C) versus room temperature (25°C), (2) after pharmacological treatment with bafilomycin, an H+ ATPase pump inhibitor, or amiloride, an inhibitor of Na+/H+ exchange, and (3) in response to both temperature and pharmacological treatment. Whole-cell, time lapse images are demonstrated to show the ability to transform live cells into dynamic laboratories to monitor temporal and spatial endosomal pH. The versatility of these probes shows promise for future applications relevant to intracellular trafficking and intelligent drug design.