Near-Infrared-Activated Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer-Based Nanocomposite to Sense MMP2-Overexpressing Oral Cancer Cells

Yung Chieh Chan, Ming Hsien Chan, Chieh Wei Chen, Ru Shi Liu*, Michael Hsiao, Din Ping Tsai

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are well-known mediators that are activated in tumor progression. MMP2 is a kind of gelatinase in extracellular matrix remodeling and cancer metastasis processes. MMP2 secretion increased in many types of cancer diseases, and its abnormal expression is associated with a poor prognosis. We fabricated a nanocomposite that sensed MMP2 expression by a red and blue light change. This nanocomposite consisted of an upconversion nanoparticle (UCNP), MMP2-sensitive peptide, and CuInS2/ZnS quantum dot (CIS/ZnS QD). An UCNP is composed of NaYF4:Tm/Yb@NaYF4:Nd/Yb, which has multiple emissions at UV/blue-visible wavelengths under 808 nm laser excitation. The conjugated CIS/ZnS QD showed the red-visible fluorescence though the FRET process. The two fluorophores were connected by a MMP2-sensitive peptide to form a novel MMP2 biosensor, named UCNP@p-QD. UCNP@p-QD was highly biocompatible according to cell viability assay. The FRET-based biosensor was employed in the MMP2 determination in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, it was administrated into the tumor-bearing mouse to check MMP2 expression. UCNP@p-QD could be a promising tool for biological study and biomedical application. In this study, we demonstrated that the CIS/ZnS QD improved the upconversion intensity through a near-infrared-induced FRET process. This nanocomposite has the advantage of light penetration, excellent biocompatibility, and high sensitivity to sense MMP2. The near-infrared-induced composites are a potential inspiration for use in biomedical applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1627-1634
Number of pages8
JournalACS Omega
Issue number2
StatePublished - 28 Feb 2018


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