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    nanoscience and nanotechnology: small is different

Intracellular temperature measurements using anisotropy-based nanothermometers

Sebastian Thomson
IMDEA Nanociencia
Tuesday, 17 November 2020 12:00

Zoom link:


Meeting ID: 998 9255 4364
Passcode: uY159a


Temperature is a crucial parameter in biology and medicine. Because of that, several methods have been developed and presented to measure intracellular temperature. Optical methods excel because they are non-invasive, spatially accurate and can measure real-time local changes in temperature. Among these, fluorescence anisotropy-based methods are particularly advantageous because they are less affected by changes in the probe concentration and irradiation conditions. In this seminar, it will be described first the intracellular temperature measurements in cancer cells and live organism using the green fluorescent protein as a nanothermometer (1,2). Secondly, a method to add thermosensitivity to any protein or dye will be presented (3). The method consists of covalently attaching a dye to the protein, which increases the rotational time of the dye-protein system compared to the free dye and confers thermosensitivity to the resulting bioconjugates. In addition, it will also be discussed the theoretical model that predicts the optimal sensitivity for anisotropy-based nanothermometers based on protein size and dye fluorescence lifetime (4). Lastly, it will briefly be presented current projects involving DNA as a nanothermometer (5) and the efforts to discriminate cancer cells versus non-cancer cells based on intracellular temperature measurements. The utilization of these nanothermometers and the information of intracellular temperature by a broad spectrum of the scientific community will bring new knowledge and understanding that today remains unavailable with current techniques.

References (1) Mapping intracellular temperature using green fluorescent protein SA Thompson et al., Nano letters 12 (4), 2012 (2) Imaging of plasmonic heating in a living organism SA Thompson et al., ACS nano 7 (10), 2013 (3) Plug and Play Anisotropy-Based Nanothermometers SA Thompson, et al. ACS Photonics 5 (7), 2018 (4) Universal guidelines for the conversion of proteins and dyes into functional nanothermometers G Spicer et al., Journal of biophotonics 2019 (5) Harnessing DNA in nanothermometry. G Spicer et al., Journal of biophotonics 2020.