Simultaneous probing of dual intracellular metabolites (ATP and paramylon) in live microalgae using graphene oxide/aptamer nanocomplex

Jee Young Kim, Cho Rok Jin, Jaewon Park, Dae Geun Kim, Hyun Soo Kim, Yoon E. Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The development of an intracellular metabolite imaging platform for live microorganisms has been a challenge in the study of microbes. Herein, we performed metabolite imaging in live microalgal cells using a graphene oxide (GO)/aptamer complex. The properties of the GO were characterized using dynamic light scattering (DLS) and atomic force microscopy (AFM), which were determined to have 140 ± 3 nm in mean diameter. An ATP-specific aptamer was mixed with GO to form a GO/aptamer complex, and the feasibility of the complex was tested in vitro. The high correlation between the fluorescence intensity and concentration of ATP was observed in the range 0–10 mM. Next, the feasibility of the complex was confirmed in vivo. Under both phototrophic and heterotrophic culture conditions, Euglena gracilis internalized the complex, and bright fluorescence was observed as the aptamer was bound to the target metabolite (ATP). The fluorescence intensity of cells was correlated to the ATP concentration in the cells. Imaging of dual intracellular metabolites (ATP and paramylon) was achieved by simply using two different aptamers (ATP-specific aptamer and paramylon-specific aptamer) together, showing the great potential of the complex as a dual-sensing/imaging platform. In addition, the GO/aptamer complex exhibited low cytotoxicity; the proliferation and viability of E. gracilis cells were not significantly affected by the complex. Our results suggested that this new imaging platform can be efficiently used for detecting dual intracellular metabolites in live microalgal cells. Graphical abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish
Article number88
JournalMicrochimica Acta
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Mar

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature.


  • Aptamers
  • Dual-imaging
  • Euglena gracilis
  • Graphene oxide
  • In vivo detection
  • Metabolite sensing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry


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