Dendritic polymer imaging systems for the evaluation of conjugate uptake and cleavage†
Fluorescent turn-on probes combined with polymers have a broad range of applications, e.g. for intracellular sensing of ions, small molecules, or DNA. In the field of polymer therapeutics, these probes can be applied to extend the in vitro characterization of novel conjugates beyond cytotoxicity and cellular uptake studies. This is particularly true in cases in which polymer conjugates contain drugs attached by cleavable linkers. Better information on the intracellular linker cleavage and drug release would allow a faster evaluation and optimization of novel polymer therapeutic concepts. We therefore developed a fluorescent turn-on probe that enables direct monitoring of pH-mediated cleavage processes over time. This is achieved by exploiting the fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) between two dyes that have been coupled to a dendritic polymer. We demonstrate the use of this probe to evaluate polymer uptake and intracellular release of cargo in a cell based microplate assay that is suitable for high throughput screening.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Dendritic Polymers for Smart Drug Delivery Applications