Following the Dynamics of pH in Endosomes of Live Cells with SERS Nanosensors

J. Kneipp, Harald Kneipp, B. Wittig, Katrin Kneipp

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) spectrum of a reporter molecule attached to gold or silver nanostructures, which is pH-sensitive, can deliver information on the local pH in the environment of the nanostructure. Here, we demonstrate the use of a mobile SERS nanosensor made from gold nanaoaggregates and 4-mercaptobenzoic acid (pMBA) attached as a reporter for monitoring changes in local pH of the cellular compartments of living NIH/3T3 cells. We show that SERS nanosensors enable the dynamics of local pH in individual live cells to be followed at subendosomal resolution in a timeline of cellular processes. This information is of basic interest for a better understanding of a broad range of physiological and metabolic processes as well as for a number of biotechnological applications.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry Part C: Nanomaterials and Interfaces
Issue number16
Pages (from-to)7421-7426
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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