Carbohydrate antigens with subterminal fucosylation have been implicated in the development and progression of several cancers, including hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Fluorescent sensors targeting fucosylated carbohydrate antigens could potentially be used for diagnostic and other applications. We have designed and synthesized a series of 26 diboronic acid compounds as potential fluorescent sensors for such carbohydrates. Among these compounds, 7q was able to fluorescently label cells expressing high levels of sLex (HEPG2) within a concentration range of 0.5 to 10 μM. This compound (7q) did not label cells expressing Lewis Y (HEP3B), nor cells without fucosylated antigens (COS7). This represents the first example of a fluorescent compound labeling cells based on cell surface carbohydrate structures.
Yang, W., Fan, H., Gao, X., Gao, S., Karnati, V. V. R., Ni, W., … Wang, B. (2004). The first fluorescent diboronic acid sensor specific for hepatocellular carcinoma cells expressing sialyl Lewis X. Chemistry and Biology, 11(4), 439–448. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chembiol.2004.03.021