NIR-activated content release from plasmon resonant liposomes for probing single-cell responses

Sarah J. Leung, Marek Romanowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Technological limitations have prevented the interrogation and manipulation of cellular activity in response to bioactive molecules within model and living systems that is required for the development of diagnostic and treatment modalities for diseases, such as cancer. In this work, we demonstrate that gold-coated liposomes are capable of encapsulation and on-demand release of signaling molecules with a spatial and temporal resolution leading to activation of individual cells. As a model system, we used cells modified to overexpress a certain G-protein coupled receptor, the CCK2 receptor, and achieved its activation in a single cell via the localized release of its agonist. This content release was triggered by illumination of the liposomes at wavelengths corresponding to the plasmon resonance of the gold coating. The use of plasmon resonant liposomes may enable on-demand release of a broad range of molecules using biologically safe near-infrared light and without molecule chemical modification. In combination with the spectral tunability of plasmon resonant coating, this technology may allow for multiplexed interrogation of complex and diverse signaling pathways in model or living tissues with unprecedented spatial and temporal control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9383-9391
Number of pages9
JournalACS Nano
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 27 2012


  • cell signaling
  • controlled release
  • liposomes
  • nanoparticles
  • plasmon resonance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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