Plant Cell Wall-Penetrable, Redox-Responsive Silica Nanoprobe for the Imaging of Starvation-Induced Vesicle Trafficking

Xin Chun Huang, Yuko Inoue-Aono, Yuji Moriyasu, Pei Ying Hsieh, Wei Ming Tu, Shae Chien Hsiao, Wan Neng Jane, Hsin-Yun Hsu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Autophagy is a self-protection process against reactive oxygen species (ROS). The intracellular level of ROS increased when cells were cultured under nutrient starvation. Antioxidants such as glutathione and ascorbic acid play an important role in ROS removal. However, the cellular redox state in the autophagic pathway is still unclear. Herein, we developed a new redox-sensitive probe with a disulfide-linked silica scaffold to enable the sensing of the reduction environment in cell organelles. This redox-responsive silica nanoprobe (ReSiN) could penetrate the plant cell wall and release fluorescent molecules in response to redox states. By applying the ReSiN to tobacco BY-2 cells and tracing the distribution of fluorescence, we found a higher reducing potential in the central vacuole than in the autolysosomes. Upon cysteine protease inhibitor (E64-c) treatment in sucrose-free medium, the disulfide-silica structures of the ReSiNs were broken down in the vacuoles but were not degraded and were accumulated in the autolysosomes. These results reveal the feasibility of our nanoprobe for monitoring the endocytic and macroautophagic pathways. These pathways merge upstream of the central vacuole, which is the final destination of both pathways. In addition, different redox potentials were observed in the autophagic pathway. Finally, the expression of the autophagy-related protein (Atg8) fused with green fluorescence protein confirmed that the ReSiN treatment itself did not induce the autophagic pathway under normal physiological conditions, indicating the versatility of this nanoprobe in studying stimuli-triggered autophagy-related trafficking.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10231-10236
Number of pages6
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number20
StatePublished - 18 Oct 2016


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