Synthesis of a fluorescent photoaffinity probe of OSW-1 by site-selective acylation of an inactive congener and biological evaluation

Journal: Chemical Communications

Published: 2017-01-03

DOI: 10.1039/c6cc08955k

Affiliations: 1

Authors: 6

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Research Highlight

Anticancer chemical caught in the act

© JUAN GARTNER/Science Photo Library/Getty

© JUAN GARTNER/Science Photo Library/Getty

A fluorescent bio-probe could be used to trace the targets of an anticancer compound in live cells.

The chemical compound OSW-1, which occurs naturally in the bulbs of the giant Chincherinchee plant, is of interest for chemotherapy use as it directly targets tumour cells. As it is difficult observing molecules in action without disturbing their biological function, how OSW-1 does this has remained unclear, until now.

A team of researchers from Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology created a light-sensitive probe by replacing biologically important parts of OSW-1 with functionally similar photoreactive molecules, which could be activated by an ultraviolet lamp. The team tested their probe in live cancer cells and found that it was almost as toxic towards tumours as unaltered OSW-1 and was traced to similar locations as fluorescently tagged OSW-1.

This technique is being used to pinpoint proteins that bind OSW-1 in live cells, which could guide the development of new cancer therapies.

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  1. Chem. Comm. 53, 517–520 (2017). doi: 10.1039/c6cc08955k
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Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology (TUAT), Japan 1