Synthesis and in vitro characterization of a dendrimer-MORF conjugate for amplification pretargeting

UMMS Affiliation

Division of Nuclear Medicine, Department of Radiology

Publication Date


Document Type



Animals; Antibodies, Neoplasm; Cell Line, Tumor; Humans; Mice; Morpholines; Organotechnetium Compounds; Polyamines; Staining and Labeling


Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


Amplification pretargeting can play an important role in molecular imaging by significantly increasing the accumulation of signal in target tissues. Multiple-step amplification pretargeting offers the potential to greatly improve target localization of effector molecules through the intermediate use of polymers conjugated with multiple copies of complementary oligomers. In this study, PAMAM dendrimer generation 3 (G3) was conjugated with multiple copies of a phosphorodiamidate morpholino (MORF) oligomer. Characterization of the conjugate by native-PAGE and SE-HPLC demonstrated that the conjugation was successful. The average numbers of MORF groups in the G3-MORF conjugate, both attached and accessible to the (99m)Tc labeled complementary MORF (cMORF), were determined. The antitumor antibody CC49 was conjugated with both MORF and cMORF (collectively (c)MORF) at an average of about one group per molecule. Nine of the 32 carboxyl groups of the dendrimer were modified with MORF, of which 90% were accessible in solution to (99m)Tc-cMORF. After purification, the G3-MORF was radiolabeled with tracer (99m)Tc-labeled cMORF (i.e., G3-MORF/(99m)Tc-cMORF) and added to the antibody CC49 previously conjugated with cMORF (i.e., CC49-cMORF/G3-MORF/(99m)Tc-cMORF), the complex demonstrated a single peak on SE-HPLC as evidence of complete hybridization between G3-MORF/(99m)Tc-cMORF and CC49-cMORF. The CC49-(c)MORF were bound to both Protein G and Protein L coated plates, and G3-MORF was added to hybridize with CC49-cMORF before the (99m)Tc-cMORF was added to test amplification pretargeting. In comparison to conventional pretargeting without the G3-MORF, the signal was amplified about 6 and 14 times, respectively, showing that the G3-MORF participated in amplifying the signal. Further amplification studies using the CC49-(c)MORF for LS174T tumor cells in tissue culture also demonstrated clear evidence of signal amplification.

DOI of Published Version



Bioconjug Chem. 2008 Aug;19(8):1518-25. Epub 2008 Jul 23. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Bioconjugate chemistry

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Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID