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Near-infrared probes Report Summary

Project ID: 340233
Funded under: FP7-IDEAS-ERC
Country: Finland

Mid-Term Report Summary - NEAR-INFRARED PROBES (Near-infrared fluorescent probes based on bacterial phytochromes for in vivo imaging)

Near-infrared fluorescent probes are superior for deep-tissue and whole-body imaging of animals because of reduced autofluorescence, low light-scattering and minimal absorbance of hemoglobin, melanin and water in the near-infrared spectral region. The goal of our project is to develop several types of bright and spectrally resolvable near-infrared fluorescent proteins and biosensors on the basis of bacterial phytochromes and to apply them in multicolor imaging and studies of dynamic processes in living mammals. To this end, we have engineered several types of the new near-infrared fluorescent and bioluminescent proteins and characterized them in purified state and in biological cells. We next applied these proteins to study tumor growth and metastases in live mice by using fluorescence imaging and photoacoustic tomography. We also studied the structural, biochemical and photophysical properties of these and other near-infrared genetically encoded probes developed from bacterial phytochromes in order to increase their brightness and make them multicolor. The developed near-infrared fluorescent and bioluminescent proteins should be useful in various applications that deal with imaging of various cell types, tissues and animal models in basic biology and biomedicine.

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