Encapsulated yeast cells inside Paramecium primaurelia: A model system for protection capability of polyelectrolyte shells

S. Krol, O. Cavalleri, P. Ramoino, A. Gliozzi, A. Diaspro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


One of the most promising applications of encapsulated living cells is their use as protected transplanted tissue into the human body. A suitable system for the protection of living cells is the use of nano- or microcapsules of polyelectrolytes. These shells can be deposited easily on top of the cells by means of a layer-by-layer technique. An interesting feature of the capsules is the possibility to control their properties on a nanometre level, tuning their wall texture via the preparation conditions. Here we introduce a model system to test the protection ability of polyelectrolyte capsules. Common bakery yeast cells were encapsulated. They were coated with a fluorescently labelled shell at conditions known to guarantee cell survival, and the cell interior was stained with DAPI. The protozoan Paramecium primaurelia was incubated with this double-stained living yeast and visualized by means of two-photon excitation fluorescence microscopy. Cross-sections of the dye-stained material as well as autofluorescence of the fixed protozoan allowed us to follow the digestion of the coated yeast with time. Our investigation reveals that capsules prepared under these deposition conditions are permeable to lysosomal enzymes, leading to degradation of the yeast inside the intact capsules. Our preliminary results indicate the suitability of the introduced model as a test system of this permeability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-243
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Microscopy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2003


  • Encapsulated living cells
  • Layer-by-layer polyelectrolyte deposition
  • Nanostructuring of multilayers
  • Paramecium primaurelia
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation


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