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Keywords:

  • caspases;
  • fluorescence;
  • imaging agents;
  • nanoparticles;
  • proteolysis
Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

Turn off the lights! A universal nanoquencher that quenches a broad range of visible to near-infrared dyes by using a series of dark quenchers incorporated into a cell-permeable mesoporous silica nanoparticle has been developed. In combination with dye-labeled substrates, this nanoquencher boosts multiple fluorescence signals upon specific proteolysis, which allows real-time imaging of proteolytic cascades (see scheme).