Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 377, Issue 6, pp 956–963 | Cite as

Protease sensors for bioimaging

  • Martin Funovics
  • Ralph Weissleder
  • Ching-Hsuan Tung


Optical imaging of specific molecular targets and pathways in vivo has recently become possible through continued developments in imaging equipment, reconstruction algorithms, and more importantly the availability of imaging reporter molecules. These reporter molecules encompass photoproteins expressed in vivo and exogenously administered probes detectable by fluorescence and/or bioluminescence imaging. One particularly enticing aspect of optical imaging is the ability to design activatible probes with inherent amplification. This review summarizes our experience in developing novel near-infrared fluorescent (NIRF) imaging agents that report on protease activities. These agents are designed to be biocompatible, highly activatible, and able to produce bright NIRF following protease cleavage.


Optical Imaging Neoplasms, detection Fluorescence Contrast agents, activatible 



Research summarized in this review was supported in part by NIH CA86355, CA88365, and NSF BES-0119382. M.A.F. was supported by a grant from the Max Kade Foundation, NY.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Funovics
    • 1
  • Ralph Weissleder
    • 1
  • Ching-Hsuan Tung
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Molecular Imaging ResearchHarvard Medical SchoolCharlestownUSA

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