Protease-activated quantum dot probes

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

210 Scopus citations


We have developed a novel nanoparticulate luminescent probe with inherent signal amplification upon interaction with a targeted proteolytic enzyme. This construct 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. Release of AuNPs by peptide cleavage restores radiative QD photoluminescence. Initial studies observed a 52% rise in luminescence over 47 h 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)
Pages (from-to)1317-1321
Number of pages5
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 9 2005


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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Protease-activated quantum dot probes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this