Engineered Nanostructures of Haptens Lead to Unexpected Formation of Membrane Nanotubes Connecting Rat Basophilic Leukemia Cells

Jie Ren Li, Shailise S. Ross, Yang Liu, Ying X. Liu, Kang Hsin Wang, Huan Yuan Chen, Fu-Tong Liu, Ted A. Laurence, Gang-yu Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


A recent finding reports that co-stimulation of the high-affinity immunoglobulin E (IgE) receptor (Fc∈RI) and the chemokine receptor 1 (CCR1) triggered formation of membrane nanotubes among bone-marrow-derived mast cells. The co-stimulation was attained using corresponding ligands: IgE binding antigen and macrophage inflammatory protein 1α (MIP1 α), respectively. However, this approach failed to trigger formation of nanotubes among rat basophilic leukemia (RBL) cells due to the lack of CCR1 on the cell surface (Int. Immunol. 2010, 22 (2), 113-128). RBL cells are frequently used as a model for mast cells and are best known for antibody-mediated activation via Fc∈RI. This work reports the successful formation of membrane nanotubes among RBLs using only one stimulus, a hapten of 2,4-dinitrophenyl (DNP) molecules, which are presented as nanostructures with our designed spatial arrangements. This observation underlines the significance of the local presentation of ligands in the context of impacting the cellular signaling cascades. In the case of RBL, certain DNP nanostructures suppress antigen-induced degranulation and facilitate the rearrangement of the cytoskeleton to form nanotubes. These results demonstrate an important scientific concept; engineered nanostructures enable cellular signaling cascades, where current technologies encounter great difficulties. More importantly, nanotechnology offers a new platform to selectively activate and/or inhibit desired cellular signaling cascades.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6738-6746
Number of pages9
JournalACS Nano
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 28 2015


  • atomic force microscopy (AFM)
  • haptens
  • mast cells
  • membrane nanotubes
  • particle lithography
  • rat basophilic leukemia (RBL) cells
  • scanning electron microscopy (SEM)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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