BMB Rep. 2015; 48(6): 313-318  
Fluorescent and bioluminescent nanoprobes for in vitro and in vivo detection of matrix metalloproteinase activity
Hawon Lee1,2 & Young-Pil Kim1,2,*
1Department of Life Science, 2Research Institute for Natural Sciences and Research Institute for Convergence of Basic Sciences, Hanyang University, Seoul 133-791, Korea
Correspondence to: Tel: +82-2-2220-2560; Fax: +82-2-6280-6725; E-mail:
Received: March 27, 2015; Published online: June 30, 2015.
© Korean Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. All rights reserved.

Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are zinc-dependent endopeptidases that degrade the extracellular matrix (ECM) and regulate the extracellular microenvironment. Despite the significant role that MMP activity plays in cell-cell and cell-ECM interactions, migration, and differentiation, analyses of MMPs in vitro and in vivo have relied upon their abundance using conventional immunoassays, rather than their enzymatic activities. To resolve this issue, diverse nanoprobes have emerged and proven useful as effective activity-based detection tools. Here, we review the recent advances in luminescent nanoprobes and their applications in in vitro diagnosis and in vivo imaging of MMP activity. Nanoprobes with the purpose of sensing MMP activity consist of recognition and detection units, which include MMP-specific substrates and luminescent (fluorescent or bioluminescent) nanoparticles, respectively. With further research into improvement of the optical performance, it is anticipated that luminescent nanoprobes will have great potential for the study of the functional roles of proteases in cancer biology and nanomedicine.
Keywords: ECM, Enzyme activity, Imaging, Matrix metalloproteinase, Nanoprobe

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