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Scientists Develop Photochromic Fluorescent Glycoprobes to Remote Light-controlled Intracellular Target Recognition
Update time: 2018-01-05
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Recently, a research team from Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica (SIMM) of Chinese Academy of Sciences and East China University of Science and Technology (ECUST) developed photochromic fluorescent glycoprobes for remote light-controlled intracellular target recognition. The paper entitled “Remote light-controlled intracellular target recognition by photochromic fluorescent glycoprobes” was published in Nature Communications.

Fluorescent probes have been widely applied in early disease diagnosis. However, conventional fluorescent probes are susceptible to biological background light interference. They are usually only generated by passive diffusion into cells to produce a signal to be measured, resulting in low accuracy of detection. Therefore, targeted, accurate detection of different physiological and pathological processes is of great importance.

To address this critical issue, researchers from SIMM and ECUST developed photochromic fluorescent glycoprobes to remote light-controlled intracellular target recognition.

Researchers found that conjugation between a naphthalimide fluorophore and the spiropyran results in a photochromic probe equipped with a galactose ligand "antenna" to actively target a cell expressing the selective receptor.

In addition, researchers found that the amphiphilic glycoprobes that form micelles in water can selectively enter target cells to control the photochromic cycle by alternate ultraviolet and visible light irradiations. They further showed that the probe also allows for the sensitive detection and quantification of cellular endogenous sulfite anions via a remote photoactivation strategy.

This study provides a new tool for the optical control of chemical probes for targeted functional cell imaging.

The research was accomplished by professors LI Jia and Zang Yi at SIMM as well as HE Xiao-Peng at ECUST. This research sets the basis for the development of a new generation of smart diagnostic probes based on photochromic principles. Development of photochromic probes for a broader range of other biologically and pathologically important species is underway.

This work was supported by the 973 project, the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the Program of Introducing Talents of Discipline to Universities, the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities and the Shanghai Rising-Star Program.

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Figure: Molecular design of the photochromic fluorescent SP-Gal and its working mechanism in solution and intracellularly.(Image provided by HAN Haihao)

Contact person:
Prof. LI Jia

(Credit: HAN Haihao)




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