Microspectroscopic analysis of green fluorescent proteins infiltrated into mesoporous silica nanochannels

Yujie Ma, Prayanka Rajendran, Christian Blum, Yanina Cesa, Nando Gartmann, Dominik Brühwiler, Vinod Subramaniam

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    The infiltration of enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) into nanochannels of different diameters in mesoporous silica particles was studied in detail by fluorescence microspectroscopy at room temperature. Silica particles from the MCM-41, ASNCs and SBA-15 families possessing nanometer-sized (3-8 nm in diameter) channels, comparable to the dimensions of the infiltrated guest protein EGFP (barrel structure with dimensions of 2.4 nm × 4.2 nm), were used as hosts. We found that it is necessary to first functionalize the surfaces of the silica particles with an amino-silane for effective encapsulation of EGFP. We demonstrated successful infiltration of the protein into the nanochannels based on fluorescence microspectroscopy and loading capacity calculations, even for nanochannel diameters approaching the protein dimensions. We studied the spatial distributions of the EGFPs within the silica particles by confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) and multimode microscopy. Upon infiltration, the fluorescence lifetime drops as expected for an emitter embedded in a high refractive index medium. Further, the spectral properties of EGFP are preserved, confirming the structural integrity of the infiltrated protein. This inorganic-protein host-guest system is an example of a nanobiophotonic hybrid system that may lead to composite materials with novel optical properties.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)123-30
    Number of pages8
    JournalJournal of Colloid and Interface Science
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2011


    • Fluorescence
    • Green Fluorescent Proteins
    • Microscopy, Confocal
    • Molecular Structure
    • Nanostructures
    • Porosity
    • Silanes
    • Silicon Dioxide
    • Spectrometry, Fluorescence
    • Journal Article
    • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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