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Combined Labelled and Label-free SERS Probes for Triplex Three-dimensional Cellular Imaging.

Abstract

Cells are complex chemical systems, where the molecular composition at different cellular locations and specific intracellular chemical interactions determine the biological function. An in-situ nondestructive characterization of the complicated chemical processes (like e.g. apoptosis) is the goal of our study. Here, we present the results of simultaneous and three-dimensional imaging of double organelles (nucleus and membrane) in single HeLa cells by means of either labelled or label-free surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS). This combination of imaging with and without labels is not possible when using fluorescence microscopy. The SERS technique is used for a stereoscopic description of the intrinsic chemical nature of nuclei and the precise localization of folate (FA) and luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) on the membrane under highly confocal conditions. We also report on the time-dependent changes of cell nuclei as well as membrane receptor proteins during apoptosis analyzed by statistical multivariate methods. The multiplex three-dimensional SERS imaging technique allows for both temporal (real time) and spatial (multiple organelles and molecules in three-dimensional space) live-cell imaging and therefore provides a new and attractive 2D/3D tracing method in biomedicine on subcellular level.

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