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Chembiochem. 2010 Feb 15;11(3):345-50. doi: 10.1002/cbic.200900532.

HER2- and EGFR-specific affiprobes: novel recombinant optical probes for cell imaging.

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Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, 10 Center Drive, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


The human epidermal growth factor receptors, EGFR and HER2, are members of the EGFR family of cell-surface receptors/tyrosine kinases. EGFR- and HER2-positive cancers represent a more aggressive disease with greater likelihood of recurrence, poorer prognosis, and decreased survival rate, compared to EGFR- or HER2-negative cancers. The details of HER2 proto-oncogenic functions are not deeply understood, partially because of a restricted availability of tools for EGFR and HER2 detection (A. Sorkin and L. K. Goh, Exp. Cell Res. 2009, 315, 683-696). We have created photostable and relatively simple-to-produce imaging probes for in vitro staining of EGFR and HER2. These new reagents, called affiprobes, consist of a targeting moiety, a HER2- or EGFR-specific Affibody molecule, and a fluorescent moiety, mCherry (red) or EGFP (green). Our flow cytometry and confocal microscopy experiments demonstrated high specificity and signal/background ratio of affiprobes. Affiprobes are able to stain both live cells and frozen tumor xenograph sections. This type of optical probe can easily be extended for targeting other cell-surface antigens/ receptors.

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