Fluorescent Fructose Derivatives for Imaging Breast Cancer Cells

Bioconjug Chem. May-Jun 2007;18(3):628-34. doi: 10.1021/bc060184s. Epub 2007 Apr 20.


Breast cancer cells are known to overexpress Glut5, a sugar transporter responsible for the transfer of fructose across the cell membrane. Since Glut5 transporter is not significantly expressed in normal breast cells, fructose uptake can potentially be used to differentiate between normal and cancerous cells. Fructose was labeled with two fluorophores at the C-1 position: 7-nitro-1,2,3-benzadiazole (NBD) and Cy5.5. The labeling site was chosen on the basis of the presence and substrate specificity of the key proteins involved in the first steps of fructose metabolism. Using fluorescence microscopy, the uptake of the probes was studied in three breast cancer cell lines: MCF 7, MDA-MB-435, and MDA-MB-231. Both fluorescent fructose derivatives showed a very good uptake in all tested cell lines. The level of uptake was comparable to that of the corresponding glucose analogs, 2-NBDG and Cy5.5-DG. Significant uptake of 1-NBDF derivative was not observed in cells lacking Glut5 transporter, while the uptake of the 1-Cy5.5-DF derivative was independent of the presence of a fructose-specific transporter. While 1-NBDF showed Glut5-specific accumulation, the coupling of a large fluorophore such as Cy5.5 likely introduces big structural and electronic changes, leading to a fructose derivative that does not accurately describe the uptake of fructose in cells.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • 4-Chloro-7-nitrobenzofurazan / analogs & derivatives*
  • 4-Chloro-7-nitrobenzofurazan / analysis
  • 4-Chloro-7-nitrobenzofurazan / chemical synthesis
  • 4-Chloro-7-nitrobenzofurazan / metabolism
  • Azoles / chemistry
  • Biological Transport
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Breast Neoplasms / ultrastructure
  • Carbocyanines / analysis*
  • Carbocyanines / chemical synthesis
  • Carbocyanines / chemistry
  • Carbocyanines / metabolism
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Dyes / analysis*
  • Fluorescent Dyes / chemical synthesis
  • Fluorescent Dyes / metabolism
  • Fructose / analogs & derivatives*
  • Fructose / analysis
  • Fructose / chemical synthesis
  • Fructose / metabolism
  • Glucose Transporter Type 5 / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Nitrobenzenes / chemistry
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • 1-(N-(7-nitrobenz-2-oxa-1,3-diazol-4-yl)amino)-1-deoxyfructose
  • 1-Cy5.5-1-deoxyfructose
  • 7-nitrobenz-2-oxa-1,3-diazol-4-yl
  • Azoles
  • CY5.5 cyanine dye
  • Carbocyanines
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Glucose Transporter Type 5
  • Nitrobenzenes
  • Fructose
  • 4-Chloro-7-nitrobenzofurazan