Heterobifunctional Dyes: Highly Fluorescent Linkers Based on Cyanine Dyes
V. Wycisk, K. Achazi, O. Hirsch, C. Kuehne, J. Dernedde, R. Haag, K. Licha – 2017
Herein, we present a new synthetic route to cyanine-based heterobifunctional dyes and their application as fluorescent linkers between polymers and biomolecules. The synthesized compounds, designed in the visible spectral range, are equipped with two different reactive groups for highly selective conjugation under physiological conditions. By applying indolenine precursors with functionalized benzenes, we achieved water-soluble asymmetric cyanine dyes bearing maleimido and N-hydroxysuccinimidyl functionalities in a three-step synthesis. Spectroscopic characterization revealed good molar absorption coefficients and moderate fluorescence quantum yields. Further reaction with polyethylene glycol yielded dye–polymer conjugates that were subsequently coupled to the antibody cetuximab, often applied in cancer therapy. Successful coupling was confirmed by mass shifts detected by gel electrophoresis. Receptor-binding studies and live-cell imaging revealed that labeling did not alter the biological function. In sum, we provided a successful synthetic pathway to rigid heterobifunctional cyanine dyes that are applicable as fluorescent linkers, for example, for connecting antibodies with macromolecules. Our approach contributes to the field of bioconjugation chemistry, such as antibody–drug conjugates by combining diagnostic and therapeutic approaches.