Scientists at the RIKEN research centre in Japan and their colleagues have turned to sialic acid for inspiration in developing a live tagging system for cellular imaging.
Sialic acid is commonly found at the terminal position of the oligosaccharide group in medically important glycoproteins and glycolipids in the body. These biomolecules are often associated with the spread of cancer in the body, the immune response to disease, infection and brain processes, thus hooking into the sialic acid residue could provide a useful way to observe the behavior cells in diseases states and their responses to pharmaceutical interventions.
The team has made a cytidine 5′-monophosphate (CMP)-sialic acid analog with a fluorescent tag and in a proof of principle used it to investigate glycan synthesis events in cells.
- Synthesis of a fluorescently tagged sialic acid analogue useful for live-cell imaging,
Katsuhiko Suzuki, Atsuko Ohtake, Yukishige Ito, Osamu Kanie,
Chem. Commun. 2012.