Improved quenched fluorescent probe for imaging of cysteine cathepsin activity

J Am Chem Soc. 2013 Oct 2;135(39):14726-30. doi: 10.1021/ja4056068. Epub 2013 Sep 19.


The cysteine cathepsins are a family of proteases that play important roles in both normal cellular physiology and many human diseases. In cancer, the activity of many of the cysteine cathepsins is upregulated and can be exploited for tumor imaging. Here we present the design and synthesis of a new class of quenched fluorescent activity-based probes (qABPs) containing a phenoxymethyl ketone (PMK) electrophile. These reagents show enhanced in vivo properties and broad reactivity resulting in dramatically improved labeling and tumor imaging properties compared to those of previously reported ABPs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Breast / enzymology
  • Breast / pathology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Breast Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Cell Line
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cysteine / metabolism
  • Cysteine Proteases / analysis*
  • Cysteine Proteases / metabolism
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Dyes / chemical synthesis
  • Fluorescent Dyes / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Ketones / chemical synthesis
  • Ketones / chemistry
  • Mice
  • Optical Imaging / methods


  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Ketones
  • Cysteine Proteases
  • Cysteine