Current trends in peptide science quantum dots and peptides: A bright future together

Min Zhou, Indraneel Ghosh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

113 Scopus citations


Nanocrystalline semi-conductor materials, called quantum dots (QDs), exhibit unique optical and spectroscopic properties, which include broad absorption, narrow and tunable emission, resistance to photobleaching, strong luminescence, and long luminescent lifetimes. These remarkable properties of QDs have resulted in their use as an alternative to both small-molecule and protein fluorophores in innumerable biological applications. The overlap of QDs with the rich chemistry and biology that is characteristic of the peptide arena is an emerging research area. Peptides engineered with appropriate cysteines or histidines have served as ligands for producing water soluble QDs as well as for tagging protein ligands and biosensors to QD surfaces. Incorporation of cell-penetrating peptides on QD surfaces has allowed for the translocation of functionalized QDs into cells for intracellular imaging applications. QDs containing fluorescently labeled peptide substrates have shown utility in the development of novel protease assays. Moreover, QD labeled peptides that serve as ligands for cellular receptors provide an alternative to antibody mediated imaging at the whole-cell and single molecule level to study receptor distribution and trafficking. This review highlights the overlap between QD and peptide chemistry and speculates on future research directions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)325-339
Number of pages15
JournalBiopolymers - Peptide Science Section
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2007


  • Conjugate
  • Imaging
  • Peptide
  • Quantum dot

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomaterials
  • Organic Chemistry


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