Ultrabright Terbium Nanoparticles for FRET Biosensing and in Situ Imaging of Epidermal Growth Factor Receptors**

Cyrille Charpentier, Vjona Cifliku, Joan Goetz, Aline Nonat, Clémence Cheignon, Marcelina Cardoso Dos Santos, Laura Francés-Soriano, Ka-Leung Wong, Loïc J. Charbonnière*, Niko Hildebrandt*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Lanthanide-doped nanoparticles (LnNPs) have become an important class of fluorophores for advanced biosensing and bioimaging. LnNPs that are photosensitized by surface-attached antenna ligands can possess exceptional brightness. However, their functional bioconjugation remains an important challenge for their translation into bioanalytical applications. To solve this problem, we designed a ligand that can be simultaneously applied as efficient light harvesting antenna for Tb surface ions and strong linker of biomolecules to the LnNPs surfaces. To demonstrate generic applicability of the photosensitized TbNP-bioconjugates, we applied them in two prototypical applications for biosensing and bioimaging. First, in-solution biorecognition was shown by time-resolved Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) between streptavidin-functionalized TbNPs to biotinylated dyes (ATTO 610). Second, in situ detection of ligand–receptor binding on cells was accomplished with TbNP-antibody (Matuzumab) conjugates that could specifically bind to transmembrane epidermal growth factor receptors (EGFR). High specificity and sensitivity were demonstrated by time-gated imaging of EGFR on both strongly (A431) and weakly (HeLa and Cos7) EGFR-expressing cell lines, whereas non-expressing cell lines (NIH3T3) and EGFR-passivated A431 cells did not show any signals. Despite the relatively large size of TbNP-antibody conjugates, they could be internalized by A431 cells upon binding to extracellular EGFR, which showed their potential as bright and stable luminescence markers for intracellular signaling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14602-14611
Number of pages10
JournalChemistry - A European Journal
Issue number64
Publication statusPublished - 17 Nov 2020

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Catalysis
  • Organic Chemistry

User-Defined Keywords

  • bio-labeling
  • FRET
  • lanthanide nanoparticles
  • luminescence microscopy
  • time-resolved detection


Dive into the research topics of 'Ultrabright Terbium Nanoparticles for FRET Biosensing and in Situ Imaging of Epidermal Growth Factor Receptors**'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this