Photocaged functional nucleic acids for spatiotemporal imaging in biology

Yuting Wu, Zhenglin Yang, Yi Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Imaging of species in living organisms with high spatiotemporal resolution is essential for understanding biological processes. While functional nucleic acids (FNAs), such as catalytic nucleic acids and aptamers, have emerged as effective sensors for a wide range of molecules, photocaged control of these FNAs has played a key role in translating them into bioimaging agents with high spatiotemporal control. In this review, we summarize methods and results of photocaged FNAs based on photolabile modifications, photoisomerization, and photothermal activation. Future directions, including strategies to improve the performance of these photocaged FNAs, are also described.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-104
Number of pages10
JournalCurrent Opinion in Chemical Biology
StatePublished - Aug 2020


  • Aptamers
  • Bioimaging
  • Biosensing
  • DNAzymes
  • Photocage
  • Spatiotemporal control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry


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