Small Molecule as Fluorescent Probes for Monitoring Intracellular Enzymatic Transformations

All cellular processes are the results of synchronized actions of several intracellular biochemical pathways. Recent emphasis is to visualize such pathways using appropriate small molecular reagents, dye-labeled proteins, and genetically encoded fluorescent biosensors that produce a luminescence ON response either on selective binding or on reacting with an analyte that is produced through a specific biochemical/enzymatic transformation. Studying such enzymatic processes by probing the fluorescence response as the read-out signal is expected to provide important insights into crucial biochemical transformations induced by an enzyme in its native form. Many of such studies are extended for monitoring enzymatic transformations under in vitro or in vivo condition. A few of the recent reports reveal that such molecular probes are even capable of quantifying abnormal levels of enzymes in real-time and is linked to the key area of clinical diagnostics and chemical biology. A synchronized analysis of all such reports helps in developing a rationale for designing purpose-built molecular probes or chemodosimeters as well as newer reagents for studying crucial enzymatic process or quantification of the respective enzyme. In this review, an attempt will be there to highlight several recent bioimaging reagents and studies that have provided insights into crucial biochemical or enzymatic transformations.