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Real-time intracellular temperature imaging using lanthanide-bearing polymeric micelles

Rafael Piñol; Justyna Zeler; Carlos D. S. Brites; Yuanyu Gu; Pedro Téllez; Albano N. Carneiro Neto; Thiago E. da Silva; Raquel Moreno-Loshuertos; Patricio Fernandez-Silva; Ana Gallego; Luis Martinez-Lostao; Abelardo Martínez; Luís D. Carlos; Angel Millán

Measurement of thermogenesis in individual cells is a remarkable challenge due to the complexity of the biochemical environment (such as pH and ionic strength) and to the rapid and yet not well-understood heat transfer mechanisms throughout the cell. Here, we present a unique system for intracellular temperature mapping in a fluorescence microscope (uncertainty of 0.2 K) using rationally designed luminescent Ln3+-bearing polymeric micellar probes (Ln=Sm, Eu) incubated in breast cancer MDA-MB468 cells. 2D thermal images recorded increasing the temperature of the cells culture medium between 296 and 304 K shows inhomogeneous intracellular temperature progressions up to ~20 degrees and subcellular gradients of ~5 degrees between the nucleolus and the rest of the cell, illustrating the thermogenic activity of the different organelles and highlighting the potential of this tool to study intracellular processes.

This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 FET Open programme under grant agreement No 801305 (NanoTBtech).
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