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A Plasmon-Based Nanoruler to Probe the Mechanical Properties of Synthetic and Biogenic Nanosized Lipid Vesicles

submitted on 24.12.2020, 16:40 and posted on 28.12.2020, 10:28 by Lucrezia Caselli, Andrea Ridolfi, Jacopo Cardellini, Lewis Sharpnack, Lucia Paolini, Marco Brucale, Francesco Valle, Costanza Montis, Paolo Bergese, Debora Berti

Membrane-delimited compartments, as lipid vesicles, are ubiquitous in natural and synthetic systems. The mechanical properties of such vesicles are crucial for several physical, chemical, and biological processes. However, their accurate determination is still challenging and requires sophisticated instruments and data analysis. Here we report the first evidence that the surface plasmon resonance (SPR) of citrated gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) adsorbed on synthetic vesicles is finely sensitive to the vesicles’ mechanical properties. We leverage this finding to demonstrate that the spectrophotometric tracking of the SPR provides quantitative access to the stiffness of vesicles of synthetic and natural origin, such as extracellular vesicles (EVs). This plasmon-based “stiffness nanoruler” paves the way for developing a facile, cost-effective, and high-throughput method to assay the mechanical properties of vesicles of nanometric size and unknown composition.


Email Address of Submitting Author


Department of Chemistry, University of Florence



ORCID For Submitting Author


Declaration of Conflict of Interest

There are no conflicts to declare