Imaging cell surface glycosylation in vivo using "double click" chemistry.
Dynamic alterations in cell surface glycosylation occur in numerous biological processes that involve cell-cell communication and cell migration. We report here imaging of cell surface glycosylation in live mice using double click chemistry. Cell surface glycans were metabolically labeled using peracetylated azido-labeled N-acetylgalactosamine and then reacted, in the first click reaction, with either a cyclooctyne, in a Huisgen [3 + 2] cycloaddition, or with a Staudinger phosphine, via Staudinger ligation. The second click reaction was a [4 + 2] inverse electron demand Diels-Alder reaction between a trans-cyclooctene and a tetrazine, where the latter reagent had been fluorescently labeled with a far-red fluorophore. After administration of the fluorescent tetrazine, the bifunctional cyclooctyne-cyclooctene produced significant azido sugar-dependent fluorescence labeling of tumor, kidney, liver, spleen, and small intestine in vivo, where the kidney and tumor could be imaged noninvasively in the live mouse.