Quantum dot conjugates of compounds capable of inhibiting the serotonin transporter (SERT) could form the basis of fluorescent probes for live cell imaging of membrane bound SERT. Additionally, quantum dot-SERT antagonist conjugates may be amenable to fluorescence-based, high-throughput assays for this transporter. This Letter describes the synthesis of SERT-selective ligands amenable to conjugation to quantum dots via a biotin-streptavidin binding interaction. SERT selectivity and affinity were incorporated into the ligand via a tetrahydropyridine or cyclohexylamine derivative and the affinity of these compounds for SERT was measured by their ability to produce SERT-dependent currents in Xenopus laveis oocytes.
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