Microglia, the brain-resident macrophage, are involved in brain development and contribute to the progression of neural disorders. Despite the importance of microglia, imaging of live microglia at a cellular resolution has been limited to transgenic mice. Efforts have therefore been dedicated to developing new methods for microglia detection and imaging. Using a thorough structure-activity relationships study, we developed CDr20, a high-performance fluorogenic chemical probe that enables the visualization of microglia both in vitro and in vivo. Using a genome-scale CRISPR-Cas9 knockout screen, the UDP-glucuronosyltransferase Ugt1a7c was identified as the target of CDr20. The glucuronidation of CDr20 by Ugt1a7c in microglia produces fluorescence.
Keywords: biological activity; fluorescent probes; imaging agents; microglia; structure-activity relationships.
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