A red-emissive antibody-AIEgen conjugate for turn-on and wash-free imaging of specific cancer cells.
ABSTRACT: An antibody-AIEgen conjugate is designed and developed as a "turn-on" fluorescent probe for wash-free specific cancer cell imaging. The cetuximab-conjugated AIEgen shows red fluorescence only when it is internalized and accumulated in cancer cells with overexpressed epidermal growth factor receptor through endocytosis. The probe first lights up the lysosomes. After hydrolysis, its residue is accumulated in mitochondria, making them highly emissive with a long cell retention time. Compared with conventional "always-on" fluorescent probes, the antibody-AIEgen conjugate exhibits a very good image contrast during wash-free cancer cell imaging and less interference from normal cells. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time "turn-on" antibody-AIEgen conjugates have been reported. This new strategy can be further extended to many proteins and water-soluble AIEgens, and many of their potential applications such as real-time tracking of cell dynamics and cancer theranostics will be explored. The present work is expected to inspire more marvellous research in the fields of AIE and cancer imaging.
Project description:The synthesis of water-soluble near-infrared (NIR)-emissive fluorescent molecules with aggregation-induced emission (AIE) characteristics and theranostic functions is highly desirable but remains challenging. In this work, we designed and readily prepared for the first time such a molecule with AIE features, good water-solubility and intense emission in the NIR region. This AIE luminogen (AIEgen) is able to specifically "light up" the cell membrane without the involvement of a washing procedure. Interestingly, the staining process can be performed by simply shaking the culture with cells at room temperature for only a few seconds after the addition of the AIEgen, indicating an ultrafast and easy-to-operate staining protocol. This is the first fluorescent "light-up" probe for cell-imaging that allows the combination of a short staining period (at the second-level) with a wash-free process. Additionally, the presented AIEgen has also been developed to serve as an excellent phototherapeutic agent for high efficiency generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) upon visible light irradiation, which allows its effective application in the photodynamic ablation of cancer cells, demonstrating its dual role as an imaging and phototherapeutic agent.
Project description:Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are essential for the regulation of antitumor immune responses, where they could induce immunogenic cell death, promote antigen presentation, and activate immune cells. Here, we report the development of near-infrared (NIR)–driven immunostimulants, based on coupling upconversion nanoparticles with aggregation-induced emission luminogens (AIEgens), to integrate the immunological effects of ROS for enhanced adaptive antitumor immune responses. Intratumorally injected AIEgen-upconversion nanoparticles produce high-dose ROS under high-power NIR irradiation, which induces immunogenic cell death and antigen release. These nanoparticles can also capture the released antigens and deliver them to lymph nodes. Upon subsequent low-power NIR treatment of lymph nodes, low-dose ROS are generated to further trigger efficient T cell immune responses through activation of dendritic cells, preventing both local tumor recurrence and distant tumor growth. The utility of dual-mode pumping power on AIEgen-coupled upconversion nanoparticles offers a powerful and controllable platform to activate adaptive immune systems for tumor immunotherapy.
Project description:Luminogens with aggregation-induced emission (AIEgens) characteristics have been well developed and applied in various areas such as bio-imaging, theranostics, organic photoelectronics and chemo/bio sensors. However, most of the reported AIEgens suffer from the disadvantages of complex organic synthesis and high cost, as well as being environmentally unfriendly and hard to degrade, which have largely limited their real applications. In this work, we discovered berberine chloride, a natural isoquinoline alkaloid isolated from Chinese herbal plants, as an unconventional rotor-free AIEgen with bright solid-state emission and water-soluble characteristics. Single crystal structure analysis and optical property, viscosity, and host-guest interaction studies suggested that intramolecular vibration and twisted intramolecular charge transfer were responsible for the AIE phenomenon of berberine chloride. Moreover, berberine chloride was biocompatible and could specifically target lipid droplets in a fluorescence turn-on and wash-free manner, demonstrating the great potential of natural products as promising AIE probes.
Project description:Luminogens with aggregation-induced emission (AIE) characteristics are nowadays undergoing explosive development in the fields of imaging, process visualization, diagnosis and therapy. However, exploration of an AIE luminogen (AIEgen) system allowing for extremely wide color tunability remains challenging. In this contribution, the facile synthesis of triphenylamine (TPA)-thiophene building block-based AIEgens having tunable maximum emission wavelengths covering violet, blue, green, yellow, orange, red, deep red and NIR regions is reported. The obtained AIEgens can be utilized as extraordinary fluorescent probes for lipid droplet (LD)-specific cell imaging and cell fusion assessment, showing excellent image contrast to the cell background and high photostability, as well as satisfactory visualization outcomes. Interestingly, quantitative evaluation of the phototherapy effect demonstrates that one of these presented AIEgens, namely TTNIR, performs well as a photosensitizer for photodynamic ablation of cancer cells upon white light irradiation. This study thus provides useful insights into rational design of fluorescence systems for widely tuning emission colors with high brightness, and remarkably extends the applications of AIEgens.
Project description:Furan-cored AIEgen namely tetraphenylethylene-furan (TPE-F) is developed by diyne cyclization and its fluorescent and chemical properties are investigated and compared with its thiophene analogue. Results show that furan is superior to thiophene in terms of fluorescence, chromism, and charge transport. The mechanism of chromism of TPE-F is investigated and its efficient solid-state photoluminescence and good charge-transporting property enable it to serve as light-emitting material for the construction of electroluminescence devices with excellent performance. This work not only demonstrates an efficient strategy for constructing furan-cored AIEgens but also indicates that they are promising as advanced optoelectronic materials.
Project description:Aggregation-induced emission (AIE) as a unique photophysical process has been intensively explored for their features in fields from optical sensing, bioimaging to optoelectronic devices. However, all AIE luminogens (AIEgens) hardly recover into the initial dispersed state after illuminating at the ultimate aggregated state, which limits AIEgens to achieve reversible sensing and reproducible devices. To real-time manipulate the emission of AIEgen, here we take the advantage of confined space in the quartz nanopore to achieve a nanopore-size-dependent restriction of AIEgens for reversible conversions of "on-to-off" and "off-to-on" emission. By electrochemically manipulating 26?fL AIEgen solution inside nanopore confinement, AIE illuminates while moves along nanopore from the constricted tip to inside cavity at a velocity of 1.4-2.2??m?s-1, and vice versa. We further apply this dynamic manipulation for a target delivery of AIEgen into single cells, which opens up new possibility to design powerful and practical AIE applications.
Project description:The accurate detection of biological substances is highly desirable to study various biological processes and evaluate disease progression. Herein, we report a self-validated fluorescent probe which is composed of a coumarin fluorophore as the energy donor and a fluorogen with aggregation-induced emission characteristics (AIEgen) as the energy quencher linked through a caspase-3 specific peptide substrate. Unlike the traditionally widely studied fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) probes, our new generation of FRET probe is non-fluorescent itself due to the energy transfer as well as the dissipation of the acceptor energy through the free molecular motion of AIEgen. Upon interaction with caspase-3, the probe displays strong green and red fluorescent signals synchronously due to the separation of the donor-quencher and aggregation of the released AIEgen. The fluorescence turn-on with dual signal amplification allows real-time and self-validated enzyme detection with a high signal-to-background ratio, providing a good opportunity to accurately monitor various biological processes in a real-time manner.
Project description:Effective cancer therapy largely depends on inducing apoptosis in cancer cells via chemotherapy and/or radiation. Monitoring apoptosis in real-time provides invaluable information for evaluating cancer therapy response and screening preclinical anticancer drugs. In this work, we describe the design, synthesis, characterization, and in vitro evaluation of caspase probe 1 (CP1), a bimodal fluorescence-magnetic resonance (FL-MR) probe that exhibits simultaneous FL-MR turn-on response to caspase-3/7. Both caspases exist as inactive zymogens in normal cells but are activated during apoptosis and are unique biomarkers for this process. CP1 has three distinct components: a DOTA-Gd(III) chelate that provides the MR signal enhancement, tetraphenylethylene as the aggregation induced emission luminogen (AIEgen), and DEVD peptide which is a substrate for caspase-3/7. In response to caspase-3/7, the water-soluble peptide DEVD is cleaved and the remaining Gd(III)-AIEgen (Gad-AIE) conjugate aggregates leading to increased FL-MR signals. CP1 exhibited sensitive and selective dual FL-MR turn-on response to caspase-3/7 in vitro and was successfully tested by fluorescence imaging of apoptotic cells. Remarkably, we were able to use the FL response of CP1 to quantify the exact concentrations of inactive and active agents and accurately predict the MR signal in vitro. We have demonstrated that the aggregation-driven FL-MR probe design is a unique method for MR signal quantification. This probe design platform can be adapted for a variety of different imaging targets, opening new and exciting avenues for multimodal molecular imaging.
Project description:Research on aggregation-induced emission (AIE) has been a hot topic. Due to enthusiastic efforts by many researchers, hundreds of AIE luminogens (AIEgens) have been generated which were mainly based on archetypal silole, tetraphenylethene, distyrylanthracene, triphenylethene, and tetraphenyl-1,4-butadiene, etc. To enlarge the family of AIEgens and to enrich their functions, new AIEgens are in high demand. In this work, we report a new kind of AIEgen based on tetraphenylpyrazine (TPP), which could be readily prepared under mild reaction conditions. Furthermore, we show that the TPP derivatives possess a good thermal stability and their emission could be fine-tuned by varying the substituents on their phenyl rings. It is anticipated that TPP derivatives could serve as a new type of widely utilized AIEgen, based on their facile preparation, good thermo-, photo- and chemostabilities, and efficient emission.
Project description:Aggregation-induced emission (AIE) can be generated due to the restriction of intramolecular motions. The controllable assembly of fluorogens with AIE properties (AIEgens) is able to provide a new opportunity for precise manipulation of fluorescent signal transduction. Here, a tetrapod DNA quadruplex (TP-G4) was designed as a molecular scaffold for assembly and precise modulation of light emission of an oligonucleotide-grafted fluorogen with aggregation-induced emission (Oligo-AIEgen). The Oligo-AIEgen was synthesized by attaching the AIEgen to the 3'-terminus of the oligonucleotide through a dibenzylcyclooctyne mediated coupling reaction. The AIEgen emitted no detectable fluorescence in the context of a double-stranded structure. When hybridized to the parallel-stranded TP-G4, several AIEgens were located in close proximity to generate fluorescence. The fluorescence intensity has been precisely regulated by manipulation of the spacer length between the core structure of the scaffold and AIEgen, as well as by altering the quartet number of the G-quadruplex. Similar control of fluorescence was also demonstrated using tetramolecular and bimolecular i-motif quadruplex structures as the scaffolds. These scaffolds provide a proof of concept on the manipulation of molecular interactions, which forms a universal molecular tool for the design of new biosensing strategies.