Spatiotemporally Controlled Nuclear Translocation of Guests in Living Cells Using Caged Molecular Glues as Photoactivatable Tags.


Department of Chemistry and Biotechnology, School of Engineering, University of Tokyo; [Email]


The cell nucleus is one of the most important organelles as a subcellular drug-delivery target, since modulation of gene replication and expression is effective for treating various diseases. Here, we demonstrate light-triggered nuclear translocation of guests using caged molecular glue (CagedGlue-R) tags, whose multiple guanidinium ion (Gu+) pendants are protected by an anionic photocleavable group (butyrate-substituted nitroveratryloxycarbonyl; BANVOC). Guests tagged with CagedGlue-R are taken up into living cells via endocytosis and remain in endosomes. However, upon photoirradiation, CagedGlue-R is converted into uncaged molecular glue (UncagedGlue-R) carrying multiple Gu+ pendants, which facilitates the endosomal escape and subsequent nuclear translocation of the guests. This method is promising for site-selective nuclear-targeting drug delivery, since the tagged guests can migrate into the cytoplasm followed by the cell nucleus only when photoirradiated. CagedGlue-R tags can deliver macromolecular guests such as quantum dots (QDs) as well as small-molecule guests. CagedGlue-R tags can be uncaged with not only UV light but also two-photon near-infrared (NIR) light, which can deeply penetrate into tissue.