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J Am Chem Soc. 2015 Apr 15;137(14):4771-7. doi: 10.1021/jacs.5b00315. Epub 2015 Apr 1.

Design of a highly selective quenched activity-based probe and its application in dual color imaging studies of cathepsin S activity localization.

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∥Department of Chemistry, University of California-Berkeley, Berkeley, California 94720, United States.
⊥Department of Tumor Immunology, Radboud University Medical Center, Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences, 6500 HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


The cysteine cathepsins are a group of 11 proteases whose function was originally believed to be the degradation of endocytosed material with a high degree of redundancy. However, it has become clear that these enzymes are also important regulators of both health and disease. Thus, selective tools that can discriminate between members of this highly related class of enzymes will be critical to further delineate the unique biological functions of individual cathepsins. Here we present the design and synthesis of a near-infrared quenched activity-based probe (qABP) that selectively targets cathepsin S which is highly expressed in immune cells. Importantly, this high degree of selectivity is retained both in vitro and in vivo. In combination with a new green-fluorescent pan-reactive cysteine cathepsin qABP we performed dual color labeling studies in bone marrow-derived immune cells and identified vesicles containing exclusively cathepsin S activity. This observation demonstrates the value of our complementary cathepsin probes and provides evidence for the existence of specific localization of cathepsin S activity in dendritic cells.

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