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Céline Cepeda

Synthesis and characterization of luminescent peptidic probes for cation imaging

Published on 21 November 2017
Thesis presented on November 21, 2017

Metal ions are essential for life. Complex machineries at both the cellular and the whole organism levels regulate finely their concentrations. A disruption of their homeostasis can lead to disorders and serious diseases. In order to better understand the biological processes involving these metals, it is important to be able to detect, track and quantify them. The aim of my PhD was to develop luminescent probes for the detection of Zn2+ and Cu+. We prepared and characterized sophisticated molecules exhibiting the qualities required for this goal. These molecules were synthesized by convergent methods involving various chemoselective ligations. We developed a family of selective zinc probes, inensiometric or ratiometric, which emitted in the visible or near infra red. In order to elaborate probes for cellular imaging by confocal microscopy, we designed a synthetic pathway to add different penetrating peptides to these probes. They were tested in cellulo. Although they didn’t demonstrate zinc detection, they allowed identification of the penetrating sequence which permitted the cellular internalisation. We then developed a probe which incorporated two lanthanide complexes (terbium and europium) for the Cu+ detection. This probe responds perfectly to the presence of Cu+ with a ratiometric signal. Its counter-intuitive behavior was studied thanks to the synthesis and the characterizations of different «mutants».

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