Raphael M Franzini

Stanford University, Palo Alto, California, United States

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Publications (11)82.23 Total impact

  • Lik Hang Yuen, Raphael M Franzini, Samuel S Tan, Eric T Kool
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    ABSTRACT: An important advantage of pattern-based chemosensor sets is their potential to detect and differentiate a large number of analytes with only few sensors. Here we test this principle at a conceptual limit by analyzing a large set of metal ion analytes covering essentially the entire periodic table, employing fluorescent DNA-like chemosensors on solid support. A tetrameric "oligodeoxy-fluoroside" (ODF) library of 6,561 members containing metal-binding monomers was screened for strong responders to 57 metal ions in solution. Our results show that a set of nine chemosensors could successfully discriminate the 57 species, including alkali, alkaline earth, post-transition, transition and lanthanide metals. As few as six ODF chemosensors can detect and differentiate 50 metals at 100 µM, and a blind test with 50 metals further confirmed the discriminating power of the ODFs.
    Journal of the American Chemical Society 09/2014; · 10.68 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: DNA-encoded chemical libraries are collections of small molecules, attached to DNA fragments serving as identification barcodes, which can be screened against multiple protein targets, thus facilitating the drug discovery process. The preparation of large DNA-encoded chemical libraries crucially depends on the availability of robust synthetic methods, which enable the efficient conjugation to oligonucleotides of structurally diverse building blocks, sharing a common reactive group. Reactions of DNA derivatives with amines and/or carboxylic acids are particularly attractive for the synthesis of encoded libraries, in view of the very large number of building blocks that are commercially available. However, systematic studies on these reactions in the presence of DNA have not been reported so far. We first investigated conditions for the coupling of primary amines to oligonucleotides, using either a nucleophilic attack on chloroacetamide derivatives or a reductive amination on aldehyde-modified DNA. While both methods could be used for the production of secondary amines, the reductive amination approach was generally associated with higher yields and better purity. In a second endeavor, we optimized conditions for the coupling of a diverse set of 501 carboxylic acids to DNA derivatives, carrying primary and secondary amine functions. The coupling efficiency was generally higher for primary amines, compared to secondary amine substituents, but varied considerably depending on the structure of the acids and on the synthetic methods used. Optimal reaction conditions could be found for certain sets of compounds (with conversions >80%), but multiple reaction schemes are needed when assembling large libraries with highly diverse building blocks. The reactions and experimental conditions presented in this article should facilitate the synthesis of future DNA-encoded chemical libraries, while outlining the synthetic challenges that remain to be overcome.
    Bioconjugate Chemistry 07/2014; · 4.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Heavy metal contamination of water can be toxic to humans and wildlife; thus the development of methods to detect this contamination is of high importance. Here we describe the design and application of DNA-based fluorescent chemosensors on microbeads to differentiate eight toxic metal ions in water. We developed and synthesized four fluorescent 2′-deoxyribosides of metal-binding ligands. A tetramer-length oligodeoxy-fluoroside (ODF) library of 6561 members was constructed and screened for sequences responsive to metal ions, of which seven sequences were selected. Statistical analysis of the response patterns showed successful differentiation of the analytes at concentrations as low as 100 nM. Sensors were able to classify water samples from 13 varied sites and quantify metal contamination in unknown specimens. The results demonstrate the practical potential of bead-based ODF chemosensors to analyze heavy metal contamination in water samples by a simple and inexpensive optical method.
    Angewandte Chemie International Edition 04/2014; · 11.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Heavy metal contamination of water can be toxic to humans and wildlife; thus the development of methods to detect this contamination is of high importance. Here we describe the design and application of DNA-based fluorescent chemosensors on microbeads to differentiate eight toxic metal ions in water. We developed and synthesized four fluorescent 2′-deoxyribosides of metal-binding ligands. A tetramer-length oligodeoxy-fluoroside (ODF) library of 6561 members was constructed and screened for sequences responsive to metal ions, of which seven sequences were selected. Statistical analysis of the response patterns showed successful differentiation of the analytes at concentrations as low as 100 nM. Sensors were able to classify water samples from 13 varied sites and quantify metal contamination in unknown specimens. The results demonstrate the practical potential of bead-based ODF chemosensors to analyze heavy metal contamination in water samples by a simple and inexpensive optical method.
    Angewandte Chemie 04/2014;
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    Raphael M Franzini, Dario Neri, Jörg Scheuermann
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    ABSTRACT: Conspectus DNA-encoded chemical libraries (DECLs) represent a promising tool in drug discovery. DECL technology allows the synthesis and screening of chemical libraries of unprecedented size at moderate costs. In analogy to phage-display technology, where large antibody libraries are displayed on the surface of filamentous phage and are genetically encoded in the phage genome, DECLs feature the display of individual small organic chemical moieties on DNA fragments serving as amplifiable identification barcodes. The DNA-tag facilitates the synthesis and allows the simultaneous screening of very large sets of compounds (up to billions of molecules), because the hit compounds can easily be identified and quantified by PCR-amplification of the DNA-barcode followed by high-throughput DNA sequencing. Several approaches have been used to generate DECLs, differing both in the methods used for library encoding and for the combinatorial assembly of chemical moieties. For example, DECLs can be used for fragment-based drug discovery, displaying a single molecule on DNA or two chemical moieties at the extremities of complementary DNA strands. DECLs can vary substantially in the chemical structures and the library size. While ultralarge libraries containing billions of compounds have been reported containing four or more sets of building blocks, also smaller libraries have been shown to be efficient for ligand discovery. In general, it has been found that the overall library size is a poor predictor for library performance and that the number and diversity of the building blocks are rather important indicators. Smaller libraries consisting of two to three sets of building blocks better fulfill the criteria of drug-likeness and often have higher quality. In this Account, we present advances in the DECL field from proof-of-principle studies to practical applications for drug discovery, both in industry and in academia. DECL technology can yield specific binders to a variety of target proteins and is likely to become a standard tool for pharmaceutical hit discovery, lead expansion, and Chemical Biology research. The introduction of new methodologies for library encoding and for compound synthesis in the presence of DNA is an exciting research field and will crucially contribute to the performance and the propagation of the technology.
    Accounts of Chemical Research 03/2014; · 20.83 Impact Factor
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    Raphael M Franzini, Eric T Kool
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    ABSTRACT: Templated fluorescence activation has recently emerged as a promising molecular approach to detect and differentiate nucleic acid sequences in vitro and in cells. Here, we describe the application of a reductive quencher release strategy to the taxonomic analysis of Gram-negative bacteria by targeting a single nucleotide difference in their 16S rRNA in a two-color assay. For this purpose, it was necessary to develop a release linker containing a quencher suitable for red and near-infrared fluorophores, and to improve methods for the delivery of probes into cells. A cyanine-dye labeled oligonucleotide probe containing the new quencher-release linker showed unprecedentedly low background signal and high fluorescence turn-on ratios. The combination of a fluorescein-containing and a near-IR emitting probe discriminated E. coli from S. enterica despite nearly identical ribosomal target sequences. Two-color analysis by microscopy and the first successful discrimination of bacteria by two-color flow cytometry with templated reactive probes are described.
    Bioconjugate Chemistry 08/2011; 22(9):1869-77. · 4.58 Impact Factor
  • Raphael M Franzini, Eric T Kool
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    ABSTRACT: We report a new strategy for template-mediated fluorogenic chemistry that results in enhanced performance for the fluorescence detection of nucleic acids. In this approach, two successive templated reactions are required to induce a fluorescence signal, rather than only one. These novel fluorescein-labeled oligonucleotide probes, termed 2-STAR (STAR = Staudinger-triggered α-azidoether release) probes, contain two quencher groups tethered by separate reductively cleavable linkers. When a 2-STAR quenched probe successively binds adjacent to two mono-triphenylphosphine-(TPP)-DNAs or one dual-TPP-DNA, the two quenchers are released, resulting in a fluorescence signal. Because of the requirement for two consecutive reactions, 2-STAR probes display an unprecedented level of sequence specificity for template-mediated probe designs. At the same time, background emission generated by off-template reactions or incomplete quenching is among the lowest of any fluorogenic reactive probes for the detection of DNA or RNA.
    Chemistry 02/2011; 17(7):2168-75. · 5.93 Impact Factor
  • Hao Li, Raphael M Franzini, Christopher Bruner, Eric T Kool
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    ABSTRACT: We describe the development of templated fluorogenic chemistry for detection of specific sequences of duplex DNA in solution. In this approach, two modified homopyrimidine oligodeoxynucleotide probes are designed to bind by triple-helix formation at adjacent positions on a specific purine-rich target sequence of duplex DNA. One fluorescein-labeled probe contains an α-azidoether linker to a fluorescence quencher; the second (trigger) probe carries a triarylphosphine group that is designed to reduce the azide and cleave the linker. The data showed that at pH 5.6 these probes yielded a strong fluorescence signal within minutes on addition to a complementary homopurine duplex DNA target. The signal increased by a factor of about 60, and was completely dependent on the presence of the target DNA. Replacement of cytosine in the probes with pseudoisocytosine allowed the templated chemistry to proceed readily at pH 7. Single nucleotide mismatches in the target oligonucleotide slowed the templated reaction considerably; this demonstrated high sequence selectivity. The use of templated fluorogenic chemistry for detection of duplex DNAs has not been previously reported and could allow detection of double-stranded DNA, at least for homopurine-homopyrimidine target sites, under native and nondenaturing conditions.
    ChemBioChem 10/2010; 11(15):2132-7. · 3.74 Impact Factor
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    Raphael M Franzini, Eric T Kool
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    ABSTRACT: RNA-templated fluorescence activation is a nucleic acid detection strategy that offers the possibility of direct visual detection of genetic information in living cells. Here we describe a new reaction strategy for fluorescence activation in which a phosphine on one DNA probe reduces an azide group in a linker on a second probe, resulting in linker cleavage and release of a fluorescence quenching group. These "Q-STAR" probes are shown to yield a strong fluorescence turn-on signal in approximately 20 min, with very low background and substantial amplification by turnover on the template. A green/red pair of such probes allowed the discrimination of two bacterial species by a single nucleotide difference in their 16S rRNA. The beneficial properties of the reductive quencher release design make these probes promising candidates for widespread application in the detection of nucleic acids in vitro and in cells.
    Journal of the American Chemical Society 11/2009; 131(44):16021-3. · 10.68 Impact Factor
  • Raphael M Franzini, Eric T Kool
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    ABSTRACT: Templated nucleic acid detection is an emerging bioanalytical method that makes use of the target DNA or RNA strand to initiate a fluorogenic reaction. The Staudinger reduction holds particular promise for templated sensing of nucleic acids because the involved functional groups are highly chemoselective. Here, the azidomethoxy group, which can be removed under Staudinger conditions, is used to cage 7-hydroxycoumarin fluorophores. Reduction by phosphines and subsequent loss of the azidomethoxy substituent induce a significant bathochromic shift of the major absorbance band in the near UV region. When excited at the appropriate wavelength, this change in the absorbance spectrum translates into a substantial fluorescence turn-on signal. The described profluorophores are readily conjugated to amino-modified DNAs and are rapidly uncaged by a triphenylphosphine-DNA probe under the control of a DNA template. In addition, turnover of the probes on the target strand occurs and yields substantial signal amplification.
    ChemBioChem 12/2008; 9(18):2981-8. · 3.74 Impact Factor
  • Raphael M Franzini, Eric T Kool
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    ABSTRACT: A nucleic acid detection scheme that employs DNA-mediated delivery of an organomercury activator to unmask a fluorophore is described. The approach relies on adjacent hybridization of two oligonucleotide conjugates containing organomercury and caged rhodamine functionalities. Postsynthetic conjugation of amino-modified DNAs enabled efficient preparation of these probes. Complementary DNA templates yielded fluorescence signals arising from metal-assisted rhodamine uncaging.
    Organic Letters 08/2008; 10(14):2935-8. · 6.14 Impact Factor