29 May 2012 Non-Invasive Intracellular Temperature Readings

Temperature distribution in cancer cells

ICFO researchers report in NanoLetters on a new thermal nanoscopy which could be applicable in improving our understanding of Cancer. In a paper recently published in NanoLetters, Jon Donner, Sebastian Thompson and Mark Kreuzer in the group led by ICREA Professor at ICFO, Romain Quidant, in collaboration with Guillaume Baffou, ex-ICFOnian now at Institut Fresnel in Marseille, describe a new technique for measuring the temperature inside a single cell without altering the cell’s metabolism.

The new technique uses transfected green fluorescent protein (GFP) as a temperature nanoprobe and measures the polarization anisotropy of the GFP fluorescence. This rapid and non-invasive thermal nanoscopy differs from previous intents in that it does not alter cellular processes with the introduction of synthetic nano-objects. Furthermore, it is fully compatible with widespread GFP cellular biology.

This advance complements the optical toolbox for biologists and could help to provide new understanding of cellular processes, such as those involved in Cancer.