Real-Time, Quantitative Lighting-up Detection of Telomerase in Urines of Bladder Cancer Patients by AIEgens

Anal Chem. 2015 Jul 7;87(13):6822-7. doi: 10.1021/acs.analchem.5b01099. Epub 2015 Jun 22.


As a biomarker for early cancer diagnosis, telomerase are one of the promising targets for cancer therapeutics. Inspired by the fluorescent emission principle of aggregation-induced emission fluorogens, we creatively designed an AIE-based turn-on method to detect telomerase activity from cell extracts. A positively charged fluorogen (TPE-Z) is not fluorescent when freely diffused in solution. The fluorescence of TPE-Z is enhanced with the elongation of the DNA strand which could light up telomere elongation process. By exploitation of it, we can detect telomerase activity from different cell lines (E-J, HeLa, MCF-7, and HLF) with high sensitivity and specificity. Moreover, our method is successfully employed to demonstrate the applications in bladder cancer diagnosis (41 urine specimens from bladder cancer patients and 15 urine specimens from normal people are detected). The AIE-based method provides a simple one-pot technique for quantification and monitoring of the telomerase activity and shows great potential for future use in clinical tests.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / urine*
  • Humans
  • Telomerase / urine*
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / urine*


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Telomerase