Illuminating Cell Signaling with Near-Infrared Light-Responsive Nanomaterials

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology

Publication Date


Document Type



Biochemistry | Chemistry | Nanotechnology


The regulation of cellular signaling in vivo has been a challenging task owing to the lack of effective methods for tunable control of the amplitude, location, and duration of cell-signaling events at a deep-tissue level. In this issue of ACS Nano, an intriguing paper by Ambrosone et al. demonstrates that deep-tissue-penetrating near-infrared (NIR) light can be used to control the Wnt/beta-catenin-signaling pathway in a single-cell organism (Hydra) by utilizing microcapsules that contain plasmonic gold nanoparticles. In parallel, in recent work, we proposed upconversion nanoparticles (UCNPs) as NIR-light-activatable "wireless" optogenetic tools, and we showed their ability to modulate cell signaling pathways in both mammalian cells and mice. We believe that these interesting NIR-light-responsive nanotechnologies will open new avenues for both basic research and clinical applications.

DOI of Published Version



ACS Nano. 2016 Apr 26;10(4):3881-5. doi: 10.1021/acsnano.6b02284. Epub 2016 Apr 14. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

ACS nano

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID