Application of AlDeSense to Stratify Ovarian Cancer Cells Based on Aldehyde Dehydrogenase 1A1 Activity

Michael C. Lee, Sarah H. Gardner, Rodrigo Tapia Hernandez, Jefferson Chan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Relapse after cancer treatment is often attributed to the persistence of a subpopulation of tumor cells known as cancer stem cells (CSCs), which are characterized by their remarkable tumor-initiating and self-renewal capacity. Depending on the origin of the tumor (e.g., ovaries), the CSC surface biomarker profile can vary dramatically, making the identification of such cells via immunohistochemical staining a challenging endeavor. On the contrary, aldehyde dehydrogenase 1A1 (ALDH1A1) has emerged as an excellent marker to identify CSCs, owing to its conserved expression profile in nearly all progenitor cells including CSCs. The ALDH1A1 isoform belongs to a superfamily of 19 enzymes that are responsible for the oxidation of various endogenous and xenobiotic aldehydes to the corresponding carboxylic acid products. Chan et al. recently developed AlDeSense, an isoform-selective "turn-on" probe for the detection of ALDH1A1 activity, as well as a non-reactive matching control reagent (Ctrl-AlDeSense) to account for off-target staining. This isoform-selective tool has already been demonstrated to be a versatile chemical tool through the detection of ALDH1A1 activity in K562 myelogenous leukemia cells, mammospheres, and melanoma-derived CSC xenografts. In this article, the utility of the probe was showcased through additional fluorimetry, confocal microscopy, and flow cytometry experiments where the relative ALDH1A1 activity was determined in a panel of five ovarian cancer cell lines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of visualized experiments : JoVE
Issue number193
StatePublished - Mar 31 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Neuroscience


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