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Fluorogenic Granzyme A Substrates Enable Real‐Time Imaging of Adaptive Immune Cell Activity

Cytotoxic immune cells, including T lymphocytes (CTLs) and natural killer (NK) cells, are essential components of the host response against tumors. CTLs and NK cells secrete granzyme A (GzmA) upon recognition of cancer cells; however, there are very few tools that can detect physiological levels of active GzmA with high spatiotemporal resolution. Herein, we report the rational design of the near-infrared fluorogenic substrates for human GzmA and mouse GzmA. These activity-based probes display very high catalytic efficiency and selectivity over other granzymes, as shown in tissue lysates from wild-type and GzmA knock-out mice. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the probes can image how adaptive immune cells respond to antigen-driven recognition of cancer cells in real time.

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