Gas biology

Nitric oxide (NO) plays a preponderant role as an inter- and intracellular messenger in numerous physiological and pathological conditions. However, the mechanisms underlying this process are as yet largely unknown due to the lack of technologies to spatially and temporally control NO.

To address this urgent issue, we, in collaboration with Dr. Furukawa (Kitagawa G), aim to integrate two advanced technologies—a new microfluidic platform and porous coordination polymers (PCPs). Nitric oxide frameworks (NOFs), one of porous coordination polymers (PCPs), assembled from organic ligands and metal ions, represents a suitable crystalline framework into which NO-donor ligands can be embedded as building units. They can be concentrated in a restricted space thus improving the light harvesting and reservoir capacity for gaseous molecules. Moreover, when constructed from photoactive ligands, the inherent voids in NOFs can provide spatial segregation between the photodonors, thus preventing aggregation-induced quenching of the reactive excited states, while the potentially toxic photoadducts remain bound to the framework. Additionally, the immobilization of such photoactive solids into microfluidic devices would allow the production of localized payloads of NO, if precise photoactivation were achievable. Integration between photoactive NOFs, microfluidics, and microscopic cell imaging/analyses will add a new dimension in the investigations of gas function in 3D tissues.

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