Mechanodelivery of nanoparticles to the cytoplasm of living cells

Nyssa T. Emerson, Chih Hao Hsia, Ilona U. Rafalska-Metcalf, Haw Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Nanotechnology has opened up the opportunity to probe, sense, and manipulate the chemical environment of biological systems with an unprecedented level of spatiotemporal control. A major obstacle to the full realization of these novel technologies is the lack of a general, robust, and simple method for the delivery of arbitrary nanostructures to the cytoplasm of intact live cells. Here, we identify a new delivery modality, based on mechanical disruption of the plasma membrane, which efficiently mediates the delivery of nanoparticles to the cytoplasm of mammalian cells. We use two distinct execution modes, two adherent cell lines, and three sizes of semiconducting nanocrystals, or quantum dots, to demonstrate its applicability and effectiveness. As the underlying mechanism is purely physical, we anticipate that such " mechanodelivery" can be generalized to other modes of execution as well as to the cytoplasmic introduction of a structurally diverse array of functional nanomaterials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4538-4543
Number of pages6
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 7 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Materials Science(all)


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