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Mouhong Lin, Jung-uk Lee, Youngjoo Kim, Gooreum Kim, Yunmin Jung, Ala Jo, Mansoo Park, Sol Lee, Jungsu David Lah, Jongseong Park, Kunwoo Noh, Jae-Hyun Lee, Minsuk Kwak, Dominik Lungerich*, and Jinwoo Cheon*
A Magnetically Powered Nanomachine with a DNA Clutch
Nat. Nanotechnol., online published
Date: Feb 7, 2024

Measuring cellular and tissue mechanics inside intact living organisms is essential for interrogating the roles of force in physiological and disease processes. Current agents for studying the mechanobiology of intact, living organisms are limited by poor light penetration and material stability. Magnetomotive ultrasound is an emerging modality for real-time in vivo imaging of tissue mechanics. Nonetheless, it has poor sensitivity and spatiotemporal resolution. Here we describe magneto-gas vesicles (MGVs), protein nanostructures based on gas vesicles and magnetic nanoparticles that produce differential ultrasound signals in response to varying mechanical properties of surrounding tissues. These hybrid nanomaterials significantly improve signal strength and detection sensitivity. Furthermore, MGVs enable non-invasive, long-term and quantitative measurements of mechanical properties within three-dimensional tissues and in vivo fibrosis models. Using MGVs as novel contrast agents, we demonstrate their potential for non-invasive imaging of tissue elasticity, offering insights into mechanobiology and its application to disease diagnosis and treatment.

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