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Legumain-Specific Near-Infrared Fluorescence “Turn On” for Tumor-Targeted Imaging

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journal contribution
posted on 20.07.2018, 00:00 by Yue Zhao, Zijuan Hai, Hongyong Wang, Lanhong Su, Gaolin Liang
Legumain is one of the cysteine proteases which can serve as an essential indicator for cancer diagnosis. Near-infrared (NIR) nanoprobes with fluorescence “Turn On” property are advantageous in cancer diagnosis. However, to the best of our knowledge, using a completely organic NIR nanoprobe to image legumain activity either in vitro or in vivo has not been reported. Herein, employing a CBT-Cys click condensation reaction, we used a rationally designed NIR probe Cys­(StBu)-Ala-Ala-Asn-Lys­(Cy5.5)-CBT (1) to synthesize its nanoprobes 1-NPs with self-quenched fluorescence. Cell and animal experiments indicated that our nanoprobes were able to specifically image legumain activity in living cells and tumors with a NIR fluorescence “Turn On” manner. We envision that the nanoprobes could be applied for the diagnosis of legumain-related diseases in the near future.