Fluorogenic small molecules requiring reaction with a specific protein to create a fluorescent conjugate for biological imaging–what we know and what we need to learn

Authors

  • Aleksandra Baranczak,

    1. Department of Chemistry, The Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA
    2. Department of Molecular and Experimental Medicine, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA
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  • Stephen Connelly,

    1. Department of Molecular and Experimental Medicine, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA
    2. Department of Integrative Structural and Computational Biology, The Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA
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  • Yu Liu,

    1. Department of Chemistry, The Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA
    2. Department of Molecular and Experimental Medicine, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA
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  • Sungwook Choi,

    1. Department of Chemistry, The Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA
    2. Department of Molecular and Experimental Medicine, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA
    Current affiliation:
    1. Department of New Drug Discovery and Development, Chungnam National University, Daejon, Republic of Korea.
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  • Neil P. Grimster,

    1. Department of Chemistry, The Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA
    2. Department of Molecular and Experimental Medicine, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA
    Current affiliation:
    1. Department of Cancer Chemistry, AstraZeneca R&D Boston, Waltham, MA
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  • Evan T. Powers,

    1. Department of Chemistry, The Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA
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  • Ian A. Wilson,

    1. Department of Integrative Structural and Computational Biology, The Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA
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  • Jeffery W. Kelly

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Chemistry, The Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA
    2. Department of Molecular and Experimental Medicine, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA
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  • This article was originally published online as an accepted preprint. The “Published Online” date corresponds to the preprint version. You can request a copy of the preprint by emailing the Biopolymers editorial office at biopolymers@wiley.com

  • Aleksandra Baranczak, Stephen Connelly, and Yu Liu contributed equally to this work.

ABSTRACT

We seek fluorogenic small molecules that generate a fluorescent conjugate signal if and only if they react with a given protein-of-interest (i.e., small molecules for which noncovalent binding to the protein-of-interest is insufficient to generate fluorescence). Consequently, it is the new chemical entity afforded by the generally irreversible reaction between the small molecule and the protein-of-interest that enables the energy of an electron occupying the lowest unoccupied molecular orbital (LUMO) of the chromophore to be given off as a photon instead of being dissipated by nonradiative mechanisms in complex biological environments. This category of fluorogenic small molecules is created by starting with environmentally sensitive fluorophores that are modified by an essential functional group that efficiently quenches the fluorescence until a chemoselective reaction between that functional group and the protein-of-interest occurs, yielding the fluorescent conjugate. Fluorogenic small molecules are envisioned to be useful for a wide variety of applications, including live cell imaging without the requirement for washing steps and pulse-chase kinetic analyses of protein synthesis, trafficking, degradation, etc. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Biopolymers 101: 484–495, 2014.

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