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Imaging in living cells using νB–H Raman spectroscopy: monitoring COSAN uptake

Tarrés, Màrius, Canetta, Elisabetta, Viñas, Clara, Teixidor, Francesc and Harwood, Adrian John ORCID: 2014. Imaging in living cells using νB–H Raman spectroscopy: monitoring COSAN uptake. Chemical Communications 50 (25) , pp. 3370-3372. 10.1039/c3cc49658a

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The boron-rich cobaltabisdicarbollide (COSAN) and its 8,8′-I2 derivative (I2-COSAN), both of purely inorganic nature, are shown to accumulate within living cells, where they can be detected using νB–H Raman microspectroscopy. This demonstrates an alternative method for cell labelling and detection. The inorganic, boron-based molecule cobaltabisdicarbollide, [3,3′-Co(1,2-C2B9H11)2]−, commonly known as COSAN, comprises of a cobalt atom sandwiched by two carboranyl clusters.1 This structure exhibits both electrostatic interactions, via a dispersed negative ionic charge covering the whole molecule,2 and non-bonding intermolecular interactions between its weakly polarized B–H and C–H bonds.3 This duality imparts the molecular property of being simultaneously hydrophobic and hydrophilic, and makes COSAN soluble in both water and oils. The polarized lipid molecules that make up biological membranes also possess amphiphilic properties, and can assemble into membranes and vesicles formed from lipid bilayers. COSAN has also been shown to form small nano-vesicles and above a critical aggregation concentration (cacvesicle ≈ 0.01 mM), begin to form micelles.4 However, unlike lipid bilayer membranes, the membranes of COSAN vesicles are monolayered. Recently, [3,3′-Co(8-I-1,2-C2B9H10)2]−, I2-COSAN, has also been found to self-assemble into a lyotropic lamellar phase with sufficient curvature to create closed vesicles.5 These similarities in physicochemical properties to biological lipids suggest that COSAN molecules may be compatible with living cells, and could be used to label cells in a similar manner to lipophilic dyes. Here, we use Raman microspectroscopy to show the accumulation of COSAN and I2-COSAN in living cells. As a first step in this work, COSAN or I2-COSAN was added directly to Dulbecco's Modified Eagle medium (DMEM) with Human Embryonic Kidney (HEK293) cells. When the cells were concentrated by low speed centrifugation, washed and incubated in new DMEM medium, visual inspection showed accumulation of COSAN or I2-COSAN (orange in colour) within cell pellets (Fig. 1). This observation indicated that these COSAN molecules could be taken up by living cells.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute (NMHRI)
Publisher: RSC Publishing
ISSN: 1359-7345
Funders: EPSRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Date of Acceptance: 7 February 2014
Last Modified: 13 May 2023 15:06

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