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Protein Eng Des Sel. 2006 Oct;19(10):453-60. Epub 2006 Jul 31.

Bifunctional antibody-Renilla luciferase fusion protein for in vivo optical detection of tumors.

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Crump Institute for Molecular Imaging, Department of Molecular & Medical Pharmacology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.


An anti-carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) antibody fragment, the anti-CEA diabody, was fused to the bioluminescence enzyme Renilla luciferase (RLuc) to generate a novel optical imaging probe. Native RLuc or one of two stabilized variants (RLucC124A, RLuc8) was used as the bioluminescent moiety. A bioluminescence ELISA showed that diabody-luciferase could simultaneously bind to CEA and emit light. In vivo optical imaging of tumor-bearing mice demonstrated specific targeting of diabody-RLuc8 to CEA-positive xenografts, with a tumor:background ratio of 6.0 +/- 0.8 at 6 h after intravenous injection, compared with antigen-negative tumors at 1.0 +/- 0.1 (P = 0.05). Targeting and distribution was also evaluated by microPET imaging using (124)I-diabody-RLuc8 and confirmed that the optical signal was due to antibody-mediated localization of luciferase. Renilla luciferase, fused to biospecific sequences such as engineered antibodies, can be administered systemically to provide a novel, sensitive method for optical imaging based on expression of cell surface receptors in living organisms.

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