Specific cell surface protein imaging by extended self-assembling fluorescent turn-on nanoprobes

Keigo Mizusawa, Yosuke Takaoka, Itaru Hamachi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

135 Citations (Scopus)


Visualization of tumor-specific protein biomarkers on cell membranes has the potential to contribute greatly to basic biological research and therapeutic applications. We recently reported a unique supramolecular strategy for specific protein detection using self-assembling fluorescent nanoprobes consisting of a hydrophilic protein ligand and a hydrophobic BODIPY fluorophore in test tube settings. This method is based on recognition-driven disassembly of the nanoprobes, which induces a clear turn-on fluorescent signal. In the present study, we have successfully extended the range of applicable fluorophores to the more hydrophilic ones such as fluorescein or rhodamine by introducing a hydrophobic module near the fluorophore. Increasing the range of available fluorophores allowed selective imaging of membrane-bound proteins under live cell conditions. That is, overexpressed folate receptor (FR) or hypoxia-inducible membrane-bound carbonic anhydrases (CA) on live cell surfaces as cancer-specific biomarkers were fluorescently visualized using the designed supramolecular nanoprobes in the turn-on manner. Moreover, a cell-based inhibitor-assay platform for CA on a live cell surface was constructed, highlighting the potential applicability of the self-assembling turn-on probes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13386-13395
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number32
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Aug 15
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Catalysis
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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