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Bioorthogonal Fluorescent Nanodiamonds for Continuous Long-Term Imaging and Tracking of Membrane Proteins

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posted on 13.05.2019, 00:00 by Feng-Jen Hsieh, Shingo Sotoma, Hsin-Hung Lin, Ching-Ya Cheng, Tsyr-Yan Yu, Chia-Lung Hsieh, Chun-Hung Lin, Huan-Cheng Chang
Real-time tracking of membrane proteins is essential to gain an in-depth understanding of their dynamics on the cell surface. However, conventional fluorescence imaging with molecular probes like organic dyes and fluorescent proteins often suffers from photobleaching of the fluorophores, thus hindering their use for continuous long-term observations. With the availability of fluorescent nanodiamonds (FNDs), which have superb biocompatibility and excellent photostability, it is now possible to conduct the imaging in both short and long terms with high temporal and spatial resolution. To realize the concept, we have developed a facile method (e.g., one-pot preparation) to produce alkyne-functionalized hyperbranched-polyglycerol-coated FNDs for bioorthogonal labeling of azide-modified membrane proteins and azide-modified antibodies of membrane proteins. The high specificity of this labeling method has allowed us to continuously monitor the movements of the proteins of interest (such as integrin α5) on/in living cells over 2 h. The results open a new horizon for live cell imaging with functional nanoparticles and fluorescence microscopy.