Manipulating the power of an additional phase: A flower-like au-Fe 3O4 optical nanosensor for imaging protease expressions in vivo

Jin Xie, Fan Zhang, Maria Aronova, Lei Zhu, Xin Lin, Qimeng Quan, Gang Liu, Guofeng Zhang, Ki Young Choi, Kwangmeyung Kim, Xiaolian Sun, Seulki Lee, Shouheng Sun, Richard Leapman, Xiaoyuan Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

91 Citations (Scopus)


We and others have recently proposed the synthesis of composite nanoparticles that offer strongly enhanced functionality. Here we have used a flower-shaped Au-Fe3O4 nanoparticle as a template to construct an optical probe containing Cy5.5-GPLGVRG-TDOPA on the iron oxide surface and SH-PEG5000 on the gold surface that can be specifically activated by matrix metalloproteinases expressed in tumors. Gold nanoparticles have excellent quenching properties, but labile surface chemistry in vivo; on the other hand, iron oxide nanoparticles afford robust surface chemistry, but are suboptimal as energy receptors. By a marriage of the two, we have produced a unified structure with performance that is unachievable with the separate components. Our results are a further demonstration that the architecture of nanoparticles can be modulated to tailor their function as molecular imaging/therapeutic agents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3043-3051
Number of pages9
JournalACS nano
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Apr 26
Externally publishedYes


  • Au-FeO
  • activatable probes
  • composite nanoparticles
  • matrix metalloproteinase
  • near-infrared fluorescence imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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