Infrared surface plasmon resonance: A novel tool for real time sensing of variations in living cells

Roy Ziblat, Vladislav Lirtsman, Dan Davidov*, Benjamin Aroeti

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

110 Scopus citations


We developed a novel surface plasmon resonance (SPR) method, based on Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, as a label-free technique for studying dynamic processes occurring within living cells in real time. With this method, the long (micrometer) infrared wavelength produced by the FTIR generates an evanescent wave that penetrates deep into the sample. In this way, it enables increased depth of sensing changes, covering significant portions of the cell-height volumes. HeLa cells cultivated on a gold-coated prism were subjected to acute cholesterol enrichment or depletion using cyclodextrins. Cholesterol insertion into the cell plasma membrane resulted in an exponential shift of the SPR signal toward longer wavelengths over time, whereas cholesterol depletion caused a shift in the opposite direction. Upon application of the inactive analog α-cyclodextrin (α-CD), the effects were minimal. A similar trend in the SPR signal shifts was observed on a model membrane system. Our data suggest that FTIR-SPR can be implemented as a sensitive technique for monitoring in real time dynamic changes taking place in living cells.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)2592-2599
Number of pages8
JournalBiophysical Journal
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by a grant from the DFG, Germany (D.D.) and by The Israel Science Foundation (grant No. 1337/05).


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