Optical nanobiosensor for monitoring an apoptotic signaling process in a single living cell following photodynamic therapy.
Optical nanobiosensors have enabled bioanalytical measurements to be undertaken within volumes as small as that of single biological cells. In this work, we use nanobiosensors to monitor a molecular signaling process, i.e., caspase-7 activation, following photodynamic therapy (PDT) induced apoptosis in breast cancer cells (MCF-7). PDT induces the mitochondrial pathway of apoptosis which triggers cytochrome c release, activation of caspases-9, -8 and -7 and cleavage of poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (Parp) protein. Caspase-7 is an important apoptosis-related cysteine protease involved in the activation cascade of caspases and in the proteolytic cleavage of Parp protein. Caspase-7 was detected and identified intracellularly using optical nanobiosensors. Our results show the detection of caspase-7 in single living MCF-cells which in essence typifies the apoptotic event induced by a PDT drug. This work, in principle, demonstrates the minimally invasive capability of optical nanobiosensors to measure important signaling molecules and events in pathways at the single cell level.
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