Spatially resolved in vivo imaging of inflammation-associated mRNA via enzymatic fluorescence amplification in a molecular beacon

Chuangui Sheng, Jian Zhao, Zhenghan Di, Yuanyu Huang, Yuliang Zhao, Lele Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations

Abstract

The in vivo optical imaging of RNA biomarkers of inflammation is hindered by low signal-to-background ratios, owing to non-specific signal amplification in healthy tissues. Here we report the design and in vivo applicability, for the imaging of inflammation-associated messenger RNAs (mRNAs), of a molecular beacon bearing apurinic/apyrimidinic sites, whose amplification of fluorescence is triggered by human apurinic/apyrimidinic endonuclease 1 on translocation from the nucleus into the cytoplasm specifically in inflammatory cells. We assessed the sensitivity and tissue specificity of an engineered molecular beacon targeting interleukin-6 (IL-6) mRNA in live mice, by detecting acute inflammation in their paws and drug-induced inflammation in their livers. This enzymatic-amplification strategy may enable the specific and sensitive imaging of other disease-relevant RNAs in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1074-1084
Number of pages11
JournalNature Biomedical Engineering
Volume6
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications

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