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Whee-Soo Kim†, Sungjin Min†, Su Kyeom Kim, Sunghwi Kang, Soohwan An, Ernesto Criado-Hidalgo, Hunter Davis, Avinoam Bar-Zion, Dina Malounda, Yu Heun Kim, Jae-Hyun Lee, Soo Han Bae, Jin Gu Lee, Minsuk Kwak, Seung-Woo Cho*, Mikhail G. Shapiro*, and Jinwoo Cheon* († equally contributed)
Magneto-Acoustic Protein Nanostructures for Non-Invasive Imaging of Tissue Mechanics In Vivo
Nat. Mater., 23, 290–300
Date: Oct 16, 2023

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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