MMP2-sensing up-conversion nanoparticle for fluorescence biosensing in head and neck cancer cells

Yung Chieh Chan, Chieh Wei Chen, Ming Hsien Chan, Yu Chan Chang, Wei Min Chang, Li Hsing Chi, Hui Ming Yu, Yuan Feng Lin, Din Ping Tsai*, Ru Shi Liu, Michael Hsiao

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Upconversion nanoparticles (UCNPs) have extensive biological-applications because of their bio-compatibility, tunable optical properties and their ability to be excited by infrared radiation. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) play important roles in extracellular matrix remodelling; they are usually found to significantly increase during cancer progression, and these increases may lead to poor patient survival. In this study, we produced a biosensor that can be recognized by MMP2 and then be unravelled by the attached quencher to emit visible light. We used 3.5-nm gold nanoparticles as a quencher that absorbed emission from UCNPs at a wavelength of 540nm. The biosensor consists of an upconversion nanoparticle, MMP2-recognized polypeptides and quenchers. Here, UCNPs consisting of NaYF4:Yb3+/Er3+ were prepared via a high temperature co-precipitation method while protecting the oleic acid ligand. To improve the biocompatibility and modify the UCNPs with a polypeptide, they were coated with a silica shell and further conjugated with MMP-recognizing polypeptides. The polypeptide has two ends of featuring carboxylic and thiol groups that react with UCNPs and AuNPs, and the resulting nanoparticles were referred to as UCNP@p-Au. According to the in vitro cell viability analysis, UCNP@p-Au exhibited little toxicity and biocompatibility in head and neck cancer cells. Cellular uptake studies showed that the MMP-based biosensor was activated by 980-nm irradiation to emit green light. This MMP-based biosensor may serve as sensitive and specific molecular fluorescent probe in biological-applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-139
Number of pages9
JournalBiosensors and Bioelectronics
StatePublished - 15 Jun 2016


  • Gold
  • Head and neck cancer
  • MMP2
  • UCNP


Dive into the research topics of 'MMP2-sensing up-conversion nanoparticle for fluorescence biosensing in head and neck cancer cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this