Folate receptors (FRs) are membrane proteins involved in folic acid uptake, and the alpha isoform (FR-α) is overexpressed in ovarian and endometrial cancer cells. For fluorescence imaging of FRs in vivo, the near-infrared (NIR) region (650–900 nm), in which tissue penetration is high and autofluorescence is low, is optimal, but existing NIR fluorescent probes targeting FR-α show high non-specific tissue adsorption, and require prolonged washout to visualize tumors. We have designed and synthesized a new NIR fluorescent probe, FolateSiR-1, utilizing a Si-rhodamine fluorophore having a carboxy group at the benzene moiety, coupled to a folate ligand moiety through a negatively charged tripeptide linker. This probe exhibits very low background fluorescence and afforded a tumor-to-background ratio (TBR) of up to 83 in FR-expressing tumor-bearing mice within 30 min. Thus, FolateSiR-1 has the potential to contribute to the research in the field of biology and the clinical medicine.
- fluorescent probes
ASJC Scopus subject areas