Caspase sensitive gold nanoparticle for apoptosis imaging in live cells

In Cheol Sun, Seulki Lee, Heebeom Koo, Ick Chan Kwon, Kuiwon Choi, Cheol Hee Ahn, Kwangmeyung Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


We developed a new apoptosis imaging probe with gold nanoparticles (AuNPs). A near-infrared fluorescence dye was attached to AuNP surface through the bridge of peptide substrate (DEVD). The fluorescence was quenched in physiological conditions due to the quenching effect of AuNP, and the quenched fluorescence was recovered after the DEVD had been cleaved by caspase-3, the enzyme involved in apoptotic process. The adhesion of DEVD substrates on AuNP surface was accomplished by conjugation of the 3,4-dihydroxy phenylalanine (DOPA) groups which are adhesive to inorganic surface and rich in mussels. This surface modification with DEVD substrates by DOPA groups resulted in increased stability of AuNP in cytosol condition for hours. Moreover, the cleavage of substrate and the dequenching process are very fast, and the cells did not need to be fixed for imaging. Therefore, the real-time monitoring of caspase activity could be achieved in live cells, which enabled early detection of apoptosis compared to a conventional apoptosis kit such as Annexin V-FITC. Therefore, our apoptosis imaging has great potential as a simple, inexpensive, and efficient apoptosis imaging probe for biomedical applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1939-1942
Number of pages4
JournalBioconjugate Chemistry
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 17 2010
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Organic Chemistry

Cite this

Sun, I. C., Lee, S., Koo, H., Kwon, I. C., Choi, K., Ahn, C. H., & Kim, K. (2010). Caspase sensitive gold nanoparticle for apoptosis imaging in live cells. Bioconjugate Chemistry, 21(11), 1939-1942.