Targeted optical imaging of cancer cells using lectin-binding BODIPY conjugated avidin

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2006 Sep 29;348(3):807-13. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2006.07.169. Epub 2006 Aug 4.


Lectins (asialo-receptor family) are expressed on a number of tumors that develop peritoneal metastases. To demonstrate that fluorescence imaging based on lectin binding is applicable for a variety of tumors, we conjugated BODIPY to avidin (avidin-BODIPY), and studied the efficacy of tumor targeting in 9 cancer cell lines in vitro and an ovarian cancer cell line in vivo using a murine peritoneal cancer model. All 9 cell lines showed specific intracellular accumulation with avidin-BODIPY on fluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry. In vivo spectral molecular imaging clearly visualized the peritoneal tumor foci with avidin-BODIPY, whereas, deglycosylated avidin-BODIPY (neutravidin-BODIPY) showed only minimal fluorescence from the tumor foci and was accompanied by higher background signals. These results suggest the lectin-targeted molecular imaging technique using a targeted green fluorescence probe is potentially useful in a wide variety of cancers with a proclivity for dissemination in the peritoneal space.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Avidin* / metabolism
  • Boron Compounds* / metabolism
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Fluorescent Dyes / metabolism
  • HT29 Cells
  • Humans
  • Lectins / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Peritoneal Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Peritoneal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Staining and Labeling*


  • 4,4-difluoro-4-bora-3a,4a-diaza-s-indacene
  • Boron Compounds
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Lectins
  • Avidin