Molecular extraction in single live cells by sneaking in and out magnetic nanomaterials

Zhen Yang, Liangzi Deng, Yucheng Lan, Xiaoliu Zhang, Zhonghong Gao, Ching Wu Chu, Dong Cai, Zhifeng Ren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Extraction of intracellular molecules is crucial to the study of cellular signal pathways. Disruption of the cellular membrane remains the established method to release intracellular contents, which inevitably terminates the time course of biological processes. Also, conventional laboratory extractions mostly use bulky materials that ignore the heterogeneity of each cell. In this work, we developed magnetized carbon nanotubes that can be sneaked into and out of cell bodies under a magnetic force. Using a testing model with overexpression of GFP, the nanotubes successfully transported the intracellular GFP out at the single-cell level. The confined nanoscale invasiveness did not change cell viability or proliferation. This study presents the proof of concept of a previously unidentified real-time and single-cell approach to investigate cellular biology, signal messengers, and therapeutic effects with nanomaterials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10966-10971
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number30
Publication statusPublished - 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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