Fluorophores to Detect Misfolded Proteins and Protein AggregatesID# 2018-4737
Misfolding of proteins leads to formation of pre-fibril protein oligomers, insoluble protein aggregates, and amyloid fibers. This phenomenon has been associated with numerous neurodegenerative and metabolic disorders, including Huntington’s, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s disease. In order to detect and quanitfy these anomalies, a series of small molecule fluorophores called AgGlow was created. These fluorophores can be used to detect and quantify pre-fibril protein oligomers and insoluble protein aggregates both in vitro and in vivo. These novel fluorophores recognize and bind to misfolded proteins, are cell permeable, and have quantum yields compatible with common molecular biology instrumentation (such as flow cytometers and fluorescent microscopes).
Application & Market Utility
Currently, there’s no product to detect pre-fibril protein oligomers in live cells. Current products that detect protein aggregates are limited in application and can only be used in vitro or in fixed cells with permeabilized membranes. Detection of misfolded proteins in live cells will enable research to determine how pre-fibril protein oligomers, insoluble protein aggregates, and amyloid fibers contribute to disease.
R&D is ongoing in the Zhang lab. The inventors seek to collaborate with industry partners to continue development of the fluorophores and develop secondary applications.