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Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2009 Feb;20(1):37-44. doi: 10.1016/j.copbio.2009.01.001. Epub 2009 Feb 11.

Biosensing and imaging based on bioluminescence resonance energy transfer.

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Department of Radiology & Bio-X Program, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305-5484, USA.


Bioluminescence resonance energy transfer (BRET) operates with biochemical energy generated by bioluminescent proteins to excite fluorophores and offers additional advantages over fluorescence energy transfer (FRET) for in vivo imaging and biosensing. While fluorescent proteins are frequently used as BRET acceptors, both small molecule dyes and nanoparticles can also serve as acceptor fluorophores. Semiconductor fluorescent nanocrystals or quantum dots (QDs) are particularly well suited for use as BRET acceptors due to their high quantum yields, large Stokes shifts and long wavelength emission. This review examines the potential of QDs for BRET-based bioassays and imaging, and highlights examples of QD-BRET for biosensing and imaging applications. Future development of new BRET acceptors should further expand the multiplexing capability of BRET and improve its applicability and sensitivity for in vivo imaging applications.

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