Indexed on: 08 Jun '11Published on: 08 Jun '11Published in: Journal of the American Chemical Society
Fluorescence imaging in clinical diagnostics and biomedical research relies to a great extent on the use of small organic fluorescent probes. Because of the difficulty of combining fluorescent and molecular-recognition properties, the development of such probes has been severely restricted to a number of well-known fluorescent scaffolds. Here we demonstrate that autofluorescing druglike molecules are a valuable source of bioimaging probes. Combinatorial synthesis and screening of chemical libraries in droplet microarrays allowed the identification of new types of fluorophores. Their concise and clean assembly by a multicomponent reaction presents a unique potential for the one-step synthesis of thousands of structurally diverse fluorescent molecules. Because they are based upon a druglike scaffold, these fluorophores retain their molecular recognition potential and can be used to design specific imaging probes.