Protease-activated quantum dot probes

Emmanuel Chang, Jiantang Sun, Jordan S. Miller, William W. Yu, Vicki L. Calvin, Jennifer L. West, Rebekah Drezek

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Scopus citations


We demonstrate a novel quantum dot based probe with inherent signal amplification upon interaction with a targeted proteolytic enzyme. This probe may be useful for imaging in cancer detection and diagnosis. In this system, quantum dots (QDs) are bound to gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) via a proteolytically-degradable peptide sequence to non-radiatively suppress luminescence. A 71% reduction in luminescence was achieved with conjugation of AuNPs to QDs. Peptide cleavage results in release of AuNPs and restores radiative QD photoluminescence. Initial studies observed a 52% rise in luminescence over 47 hours of exposure to 0.2 mg/mL collagenase. These probes can be customized for targeted degradation simply by changing the sequence of the peptide linker.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBiophotonics and New Therapy Frontiers
StatePublished - 2006
EventBiophotonics and New Therapy Frontiers - Strasbourg, France
Duration: Apr 3 2006Apr 5 2006

Publication series

NameProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)1605-7422


ConferenceBiophotonics and New Therapy Frontiers


  • Collagenase
  • Fluorescence resonance energy transfer
  • Gold colloid
  • Optical contrast agent
  • Optical quenching
  • Protease imaging
  • Proteolytic activity
  • Quantum dot

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biomaterials
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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