Cancer cell-specific protein delivery by optoporation with laser-irradiated gold nanorods

Cuiping Yao, Florian Rudnitzki, Yida He, Zhenxi Zhang, Gereon Hüttmann, Ramtin Rahmanzadeh*

*Corresponding author for this work
1 Citation (Scopus)


The delivery of macromolecules into living cells is challenging since in most cases molecules are endocytosed and remain in the endo-lysosomal pathway where they are degraded before reaching their target. Here, a method is presented to selectively improve cell membrane permeability by nanosecond laser irradiation of gold nanorods (GNRs) with visible or near-infrared irradiation in order to deliver proteins across the plasma membrane, avoiding the endo lysosomal pathway. GNRs were labeled with the anti-EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor) antibody Erbitux to target human ovarian carcinoma cells OVCAR-3. Irradiation with nanosecond laser pulses at wavelengths of 532 nm or 730 nm is used for transient permeabilization of the cell membranes. As a result of the irradiation, the uptake of an anti-Ki-67 antibody was observed in about 50 % of the cells. The results of fluorescence lifetime imaging show that the GNR detached from the membrane after irradiation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere202000017
JournalJournal of Biophotonics
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 01.07.2020

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Biomedical Engineering


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