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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Quantitative measurement of intracellular transport of nanocarriers by spatio-temporal image correlation spectroscopy

  • Author(s): Coppola, S
  • Pozzi, D
  • Candeloro De Sanctis, S
  • Digman, MA
  • Gratton, E
  • Caracciolo, G
  • et al.

© 2013 IOP Publishing Ltd. Spatio-temporal image correlation spectroscopy (STICS) is a powerful technique for assessing the nature of particle motion in complex systems although it has been rarely used to investigate the intracellular dynamics of nanocarriers so far. Here we introduce a method for characterizing the mode of motion of nanocarriers and for quantifying their transport parameters on different length scales from single-cell to subcellular level. Using this strategy we were able to study the mechanisms responsible for the intracellular transport of DOTAP-DOPC/DNA (DOTAP: 1,2-dioleoyl-3-trimethylammonium-propane; DOPC: dioleoylphosphocholine) and DC-Chol-DOPE/DNA (DC-Chol: 3β-[N-(N,N-dimethylaminoethane)-carbamoyl] cholesterol; DOPE: dioleoylphosphatidylethanolamine) lipoplexes in CHO-K1 (CHO: Chinese hamster ovary) live cells. Measurement of both diffusion coefficients and velocity vectors (magnitude and direction) averaged over regions of the cell revealed the presence of distinct modes of motion. Lipoplexes diffused slowly on the cell surface (diffusion coefficient: D ≈ 0.003 μm2s-1). In the cytosol, the lipoplexes' motion was characterized by active transport with average velocity v ≈ 0.03 μm2s-1and random motion. The method permitted us to generate an intracellular transport map showing several regions of concerted motion of lipoplexes.

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