Multifunctional nanoprobes have attracted significant attention in a wide range of disciplines such as nanomedicine, precision medicine, and cancer diagnosis and treatment. However, integrating multifunctional ability in a nanoscale structure to precisely target, image, and deliver with cellular spatial/temporal resolution is still challenging in cellulo applications. This is because the development of such high-precision resolution needs to be carried out without labeling, photobleaching, and structurally segregating live cells. In this study, we present an integrated nanostructure of a mesoporous-silica nanosphere with an optical nanocrescent antenna (MONA) for multifunctional cellular targeting, drug delivery, and molecular imaging with spatiotemporal resolution. MONA comprises a systematically constructed Au nanocrescent (AuNC) antenna as a nanosensor and optical switch on a mesoporous-silica nanosphere as a cargo to molecular delivery. MONA made of antiepithelial cell adhesion molecules (anti-EpCAM)-conjugated AuNC facilitates the specific targeting of breast cancer cells, resulting in a highly focused photothermal gradient that functions as a molecular emitter. This light-driven molecular, doxorubicin (DOX) delivery function allows rapid apoptosis of breast cancer cells. Since MONA permits the tracking of quantum biological electron-transfer processes, in addition to its role as an on-demand optical switch, it enables the monitoring of the dynamic behavior of cellular cytochrome c pivoting cell apoptosis in response to the DOX delivery. Owing to the integrated functions of molecular actuation and direct sensing at the precisely targeted spot afforded by MONA, we anticipate that this multifunctional optical nanoantenna structure will have an impact in the fields of nanomedicine, cancer theranostics, and basic life sciences.
- breast cancer
- mesoporous silica nanosphere
- multifunctional nanoprobe
- optical switch
- plasmonic resonance energy transfer