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J Am Chem Soc. 2017 Jul 5;139(26):9001-9009. doi: 10.1021/jacs.7b04211. Epub 2017 Jun 23.

Fluoromodules Consisting of a Promiscuous RNA Aptamer and Red or Blue Fluorogenic Cyanine Dyes: Selection, Characterization, and Bioimaging.

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Departments of Chemistry and Biological Sciences, Molecular Biosensor and Imaging Center, and Center for Nucleic Acids Science and Technology, Carnegie Mellon University , 4400 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213-3890, United States.


An RNA aptamer selected for binding to the fluorogenic cyanine dye, dimethylindole red (DIR), also binds and activates another cyanine, oxazole thiazole blue (OTB), giving two well-resolved emission colors. The aptamer binds to each dye with submicromolar KD values, and the resulting fluoromodules exhibit fluorescence quantum yields ranging from 0.17 to 0.51 and excellent photostability. The aptamer was fused to a second aptamer previously selected for binding to the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) to create a bifunctional aptamer that labels cell-surface EGFR on mammalian cells. The fluorescent color of the aptamer-labeled EGFR can be switched between blue and red in situ simply by exchanging the dye in the medium. The promiscuity of the aptamer can also be used to distinguish between cell-surface and internalized EGFR on the basis of the addition of red or blue fluorogen at different times.


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