Click chemistry, one of the most exciting and proficient new techniques for labeling biomolecules in vitro, has now been extended to studies in the context of live cells as well. This breakthrough opens the door for applications to live cell imaging of numerous biomolecules, including glycans, proteins and lipids. The new version of click chemistry was developed by researchers with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California (UC) at Berkeley.
Weve developed a copper-free variant of the click chemistry reaction that possesses comparable kinetics to the copper-catalyzed reaction and proceeds within minutes on live cells with no apparent toxicity, said chemist Carolyn Bertozzi, the principal investigator on this project. This is the first example of a click chemistry reaction that, like the copper-catalyzed version, proceeds at physiologically acceptable temperatures only without the toxic presence of copper.
Bertozzi is the director of Berkeley Labs Molecular Foundry, a faculty scientist with Berkeley Labs Materials Sciences and Physical Biosciences Divisions, the T.Z. and Irmgard Chu Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, and a professor of Molecular and Cell Biology at UC Berkeley. She is also an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), and a leading authority on glycobiology.
We are already using our copper-free click chemistry technique to probe glycan dynamics in living cells and in live zebrafish embryos, which serve as a standard model of developmental biology, she said.
Bertozzi is the lead author on a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) entitled: Copper-free Click Chemistry for Dynamic In Vivo Imaging. Co-authoring this PNAS paper were Jeremy Baskin, Jennifer Prescher, Scott Laughlin, Nicholas Agard, Pamela Chang, Isaac Miller, Anderson Lo and Julian Codelli.
Click chemistry is the popular term for a
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DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory