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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Chemistry
- General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
- General Physics and Astronomy