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In vitro tumor hypoxia imaging with fluorescent covalent organic frameworks
Tina Skorjanc, Dinesh Shetty, Damjan Makuc, Gregor Mali, Martina Bergant Marušič, Matjaz Valant, 2023, published scientific conference contribution abstract

Abstract: Hypoxia refers to a condition where cells and tissues experience low, inadequate levels of O2. While healthy tissues are typically supplied with sufficient O2 (normoxia), cancerous tissues commonly face hypoxia due to the tumor’s extraordinarily high demand for oxygen. Various fluorescent small-molecule probes have been designed for selective detection of hypoxia in living cells, but few nanomaterials have been investigated for this type of bioimaging. Herein, we prepare a fluorescent covalent organic framework (COF) with β-ketoenamine linkages and post-synthetically modify it to conjugate hypoxia-sensitive nitroimidazole moieties into its pores (NI-COF). Stacks of sheets in NI-COF observed under electron microscopy were exfoliated by ultrasonication, and dynamic light scattering measurements confirmed particle size of less than 200 nm. Thus-prepared material exhibited good stability in physiological conditions and low cytotoxicity in in vitro experiments. NI-COF also showed useful fluorescence properties with an emission peak at 490 nm (λex = 420 nm) at both neutral and mildly acidic pH levels that are characteristic of tumor tissues. Encouraged by the favorable properties of the material, we incubated HeLa cells pre-treated in either hypoxic or normoxic conditions with NI-COF. Fluorescence microscopy images demonstrated that the material was preferentially taken up by hypoxic cells, which showed higher fluorescence signal in their interior than cells cultured under normoxia conditions. It is anticipated that this study will stimulate further developments of COFs for imaging various biological conditions.
Keywords: hypoxia, fluorescence, covalent organic frameworks, imaging, tumor cells
Published in RUNG: 19.09.2023; Views: 127; Downloads: 2
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Biological applications of porous polymers and covalent organic frameworks
Tina Škorjanc, 2023, invited lecture at foreign university

Abstract: Porous organic polymers (POPs) and covalent organic frameworks (COFs) have gained significant attention in the scientific community for a wide array of applications because of their attractive physical and chemical properties. Porosity of these materials provides ample surface area for interaction with targets, while crystallinity allows for highly specific structural tuning. In this seminar, I will present two strategies of utilizing these features of newly prepared materials in biosensing. Firstly, a cationic POP was synthesized, deposited onto interdigitated electrode arrays via a nontraditional electrophoresis technique, and utilized for electrochemical sensing of bacterial cells. As the principle of detection relied on electrostatic interactions between the cationic POP and the anionic bacterial surface, the sensor operated for both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. Secondly, a small-molecule nitroimidazole target for hypoxia, a low oxygen environment present in tumors, was post-synthetically conjugated to the pores of a fluorescent COF. This material served as a useful hypoxia imaging agent in cancerous cells. The seminar will conclude with some future perspectives on POPs and COFs in biological applications followed by Q & A.
Keywords: Porous organic polymers, covalent organic frameworks, biosensors, hypoxia
Published in RUNG: 13.07.2023; Views: 271; Downloads: 0
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Covalent organic frameworks for fluorescent imaging of hypoxia
Tina Skorjanc, Dinesh Shetty, Gregor Mali, Damjan Makuc, Martina Bergan Marušič, Matjaz Valant, 2023, published scientific conference contribution abstract

Keywords: hypoxia, covalent organic frameworks, imaging, fluorescence, post-synthetic modification
Published in RUNG: 06.06.2023; Views: 407; Downloads: 0
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Hypoxia influences the cellular cross-talk of human dermal fibroblasts. A proteomic approach.
Boraldi Federica, Annovi Giulia, Carraro Fabio, Naldini Antonella, Tiozzo Roberta, Sommer Pascal, Quaglino Daniela, 2007, original scientific article

Abstract: The ability of cells to respond to changes in oxygen availability is critical for many physiological and pathological processes (i.e. development, aging, wound healing, hypertension, cancer). Changes in the protein profile of normal human dermal fibroblasts were investigated in vitro after 96 h in 5% CO2 and 21% O2 (pO2=140 mm Hg) or 2% O2 (pO2=14 mm Hg), these parameters representing a mild chronic hypoxic exposure which fibroblasts may undergo in vivo. The proliferation rate and the protein content were not significantly modified by hypoxia, whereas proteome analysis demonstrated changes in the expression of 56 proteins. Protein identification was performed by mass spectrometry. Data demonstrate that human fibroblasts respond to mild hypoxia increasing the expression of hypoxia inducible factor (HIF1a) and of the 150-kDa oxygen-regulated protein. Other differentially expressed proteins appeared to be related to stress response, transcriptional control, metabolism, cytoskeleton, matrix remodelling and angiogenesis. Furthermore, some of them, like galectin 1, 40S ribosomal protein SA, N-myc-downstream regulated gene-1 protein, that have been described in the literature as possible cancer markers, significantly changed their expression also in normal hypoxic fibroblasts. Interestingly, a bovine fetuin was also identified that appeared significantly less internalised by hypoxic fibroblasts. In conclusion, results indicate that human dermal fibroblasts respond to an in vitro mild chronic hypoxic exposure by modifying a number of multifunctional proteins. Furthermore, data highlight the importance of stromal cells in modulating the intercellular cross-talk occurring in physiological and in pathologic conditions.
Keywords: Human fibroblast, Primary cell culture, Hypoxia, Connective tissue, Proteome, 2D gel electrophoresis, Mass-spectrometry
Published in RUNG: 22.07.2019; Views: 2850; Downloads: 0
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