Nanokit for single-cell electrochemical analyses

Rongrong Pan, Mingchen Xu, Dechen Jiang, Jame D. Burgess, Hong Yuan Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


The development of more intricate devices for the analysis of small molecules and protein activity in single cells would advance our knowledge of cellular heterogeneity and signaling cascades. Therefore, in this study, a nanokit was produced by filling a nanometersized capillary with a ring electrode at the tip with components from traditional kits, which could be egressed outside the capillary by electrochemical pumping. At the tip, femtoliter amounts of the kit components were reacted with the analyte to generate hydrogen peroxide for the electrochemical measurement by the ring electrode. Taking advantage of the nanotip and small volume injection, the nanokit was easily inserted into a single cell to determine the intracellular glucose levels and sphingomyelinase (SMase) activity, which had rarely been achieved. High cellular heterogeneities of these two molecules were observed, showing the significance of the nanokit. Compared with the current methods that use a complicated structural design or surface functionalization for the recognition of the analytes, the nanokit has adapted features of the well-established kits and integrated the kit components and detector in one nanometer-sized capillary, which provides a specific device to characterize the reactivity and concentrations of cellular compounds in single cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11436-11440
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number41
StatePublished - Oct 11 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Cellular heterogeneity
  • Electrochemical analyses
  • Nanokit
  • Single cell
  • Smase activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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