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Synthesis of polystyrene microspheres and functionalization with Pd0 nanoparticles to perform bioorthogonal organometallic chemistry in living cells

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1207–1218
JournalNature Protocols
Early online date31 May 2012
Publication statusPublished - 2012


We have developed miniaturized heterogeneous Pd0-catalysts (Pd0-microspheres) with the ability to enter cells, stay harmlessly within the cytosol and mediate efficient bioorthogonal organometallic chemistries (e.g., allylcarbamate cleavage and Suzuki-Miyaura cross-coupling). This approach is a major addition to the toolbox available for performing chemical reactions within cells. Here we describe a full protocol for the synthesis of the Pd0-microspheres from readily available starting materials (by the synthesis of size-controlled amino-functionalized polystyrene microspheres), as well as for their characterization (electron microscopy and palladium quantitation) and functional validation ('in solution' and 'in cytoplasm' conversions). From the beginning of the synthesis to functional evaluation of the catalytic device requires 5 d of work.

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