Cathepsin B-Specific Metabolic Precursor for In Vivo Tumor-Specific Fluorescence Imaging

Man Kyu Shim, Hong Yeol Yoon, Ju Hee Ryu, Heebeom Koo, Sangmin Lee, Jae Hyung Park, Jong Ho Kim, Seulki Lee, Martin G. Pomper, Ick Chan Kwon, Kwangmeyung Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Citations (Scopus)


Recently, metabolic glycoengineering with bioorthogonal click reactions has focused on improving the tumor targeting efficiency of nanoparticles as delivery vehicles for anticancer drugs or imaging agents. It is the key technique for developing tumor-specific metabolic precursors that can generate unnatural glycans on the tumor-cell surface. A cathepsin B-specific cleavable substrate (KGRR) conjugated with triacetylated N-azidoacetyl-d-mannosamine (RR-S-Ac3ManNAz) was developed to enable tumor cells to generate unnatural glycans that contain azide groups. The generation of azide groups on the tumor cell surface was exogenously and specifically controlled by the amount of RR-S-Ac3ManNAz that was fed to target tumor cells. Moreover, unnatural glycans on the tumor cell surface were conjugated with near infrared fluorescence (NIRF) dye-labeled molecules by a bioorthogonal click reaction in cell cultures and in tumor-bearing mice. Therefore, our RR-S-Ac3ManNAz is promising for research in tumor-specific imaging or drug delivery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14698-14703
Number of pages6
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Issue number47
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Nov 14


  • click chemistry
  • drug delivery
  • imaging agents
  • metabolic glycoengineering
  • tumor targeting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)


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