Small near-infrared photochromic protein for photoacoustic multi-contrast imaging and detection of protein interactions in vivo.
Photoacoustic (PA) computed tomography (PACT) benefits from genetically encoded probes with photochromic behavior, which dramatically increase detection sensitivity and specificity through photoswitching and differential imaging. Starting with a DrBphP bacterial phytochrome, we have engineered a near-infrared photochromic probe, DrBphP-PCM, which is superior to the full-length RpBphP1 phytochrome previously used in differential PACT. DrBphP-PCM has a smaller size, better folding, and higher photoswitching contrast. We have imaged both DrBphP-PCM and RpBphP1 simultaneously on the basis of their unique signal decay characteristics, using a reversibly switchable single-impulse panoramic PACT (RS-SIP-PACT) with a single wavelength excitation. The simple structural organization of DrBphP-PCM allows engineering a bimolecular PA complementation reporter, a split version of DrBphP-PCM, termed DrSplit. DrSplit enables PA detection of protein-protein interactions in deep-seated mouse tumors and livers, achieving 125-µm spatial resolution and 530-cell sensitivity in vivo. The combination of RS-SIP-PACT with DrBphP-PCM and DrSplit holds great potential for noninvasive multi-contrast deep-tissue functional imaging.
Li, L; Shemetov, AA; Baloban, M; Hu, P; Zhu, L; Shcherbakova, DM; Zhang, R; Shi, J; Yao, J; Wang, LV; Verkhusha, VV
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