Research Topic

Protein and Sub-organelle Targeted Smart Molecular Probes

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About this Research Topic

As a robust tool for the visualization, characterization, and measurement of biological processes at the molecular and cellular levels in humans and other living systems, molecular imaging has attracted significant interest from both scientists and clinicians. The vast majority of targets for approved drugs ...

As a robust tool for the visualization, characterization, and measurement of biological processes at the molecular and cellular levels in humans and other living systems, molecular imaging has attracted significant interest from both scientists and clinicians. The vast majority of targets for approved drugs are proteins, in which G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) make up 44% of human drug targets, enzymes make up 29% and transporter proteins make up 15%. Intracellular organelles are involved in a number of vital processes, and various subcellular organelles play critical roles in genetic disorders of organelle biogenesis and several metabolic disturbances that occur during non-genetic diseases e.g. infection, intoxication and drug treatment. In this context, imaging of proteins and sub-organelles will benefit both drug development and disease diagnosis.

The purpose of this Research Topic is to publish high-quality, instructive research and to identify new opportunities and explore recent developments in both disease diagnosis and drug development. To help achieve this goal, this collection will include articles pertaining to fluorescent imaging of proteins and sub-organelles. Fluorescence imaging enables the direct visualization of protein expression and sub-organelle localization with high spatial and temporal resolution, which helps elucidate pathological processes at the single cell level. Endogenous fluorescent ligand binding assays to target proteins could serve as drug screening platforms and help expedite drug development. While the limited deep tissue penetration of fluorescent imaging makes it difficult to apply in human studies, both Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) are routinely used in the clinic. This collection will include articles pertaining to PET/MRI probe development where proper contrast agent design can be crucial in disease diagnosis. Our ultimate hope is that this collection will receive contributions from researchers in all aspects of probe development, from bench research to clinical translation.

In this Research Topic, we invite authors to contribute original research articles, reviews and perspectives on topics including but not limited to the following list:

• Probe development based on small molecules, peptides, aptamers, nanobodies/antibodies, etc.
• Imaging modalities including fluorescence, phosphorescence, positron emission tomography (PET), Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Raman and photoacoustic imaging, etc. (for PET tracer development, the detailed binding affinity assay must be included)
• Both targeting and enzymatic reaction-based probes are acceptable


Keywords: Molecular imaging, diagnosis, protein, sub-organelle, drug development


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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