A Caltech Library Service

Genetically encoded nanostructures for non-invasive imaging of biological systems

Shapiro, Mikhail (2016) Genetically encoded nanostructures for non-invasive imaging of biological systems. In: 252nd American Chemical Society National Meeting & Exposition, 21-25 August 2016, Philadelphia, PA.

Full text is not posted in this repository. Consult Related URLs below.

Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


Many important biological processes – ranging from simple metabolism to complex cognition – take place deep inside living organisms, yet our ability to study them in this context is limited. Technologies such as fluorescent and luminescent proteins enable exquisitely precise imaging of genetically specific cellular function in small and translucent specimens, but are limited by the poor penetration of light into larger tissues. In contrast, most non-invasive technologies such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and ultrasound – while based on energy forms that penetrate tissue effectively – lack the needed molecular precision. Our work attempts to bridge this gap by engineering new molecular technologies that connect penetrant energy to specific aspects of cellular function in vivo. Here, I will describe molecular reporters for non-invasive imaging using MRI and ultrasound developed based on a unique class of genetically encoded gas-filled nanostructures called gas vesicles (GVs). These nanostructures evolved in photosynthetic microbes as a means to regulate buoyancy, and comprise a thin self-assembled protein shell enclosing a hollow interior with dimensions of approximately 250 nm. We have shown that the unique properties of GVs enable them to serve as sensitive molecular reporters in ultrasound, hyperpolarized ^(129)Xe MRI and susceptibility weighted MRI, representing the first genetically encodable reporters for each of these modalities. Furthermore, by engineering GVs at the genetic level, we can modify their contrast properties, mechanics and surface functionalization to enable new modes of imaging. In addition, by adapting GV-encoding gene clusters for expression in heterologous hosts, we are now able to use GVs as reporter genes to image engineered cells in vivo.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Website
Shapiro, Mikhail0000-0002-0291-4215
Additional Information:© 2016 American Chemical Society.
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20160913-083410495
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:70291
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:30 Sep 2016 19:43
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 10:29

Repository Staff Only: item control page