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Bioorthogonal Turn-On Probes for Imaging Small Molecules inside Living Cells


  • We thank Dr. Justin Ragains for helpful advice and Alex Chudnovsky for assistance with tissue culture. This research was supported in part by NIH grants U01-HL080731, T32-CA79443, P50-CA86355, and RO1-EB010011.


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Glowing tags: A series of activatable (“turn-on”) tetrazine-conjugated fluorescent probes was developed, which react rapidly in an inverse-electron-demand [4+2] cycloaddition with strained dienophiles such as trans-cyclooctene, thereby strongly increasing the fluorescence intensity (see picture). The novel turn-on probes were applied for intracellular live-cell imaging of a microtubuli-binding trans-cyclooctene modified taxol.