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Congratulations to our paper accepted by Acc. Chem. Res.!
Recent research has highlighted the immense potential of the quantum dot (QD)-based single-virus tracking (SVT) technique in virology. In these experiments, the infection behaviors of single viruses or viral components, labeled with QDs, could be tracked on time scales of milliseconds to hours in host cells. The trajectories of individual viruses are reconstructed with nanometer accuracy, and the underlying dynamic information on virus infection can be extracted to uncover the infection mechanisms of viruses. Therefore, QD-based single-virus tracking (QSVT) is an exquisitely selective and powerful approach to investigating how viruses are internalized in host cells dynamically to release their genome for viral replication and assembly that ensure the completion of viral life cycles.QDs are better candidates than organic dyes and fluorescent proteins for virus labeling and subsequent SVT due to the following considerations: (i) the high brightness of QDs makes it possible to label a virus with sufficient brightness using very few QDs or even just one QD; (ii) the extraordinary photostability of QDs allows one to track the infection process long term and quantify low probability events; (iii) the color-tunable emission property of QDs ensures multicolor labeling of various components of a virus simultaneously; and (iv) the abundant surface ligands of QDs facilitate the conjugation of a virus with a variety of labeling strategies. Therefore, the photoproperties of QDs make it possible to perform multicolor long-term SVT experiments quantitatively. Nowadays, the QD-based SVT (QSVT) technique has made prodigious achievements in unraveling the entry, trafficking, and uncoating mechanisms of viruses. This fascinating technique can provide spatiotemporal dynamic information on the viral journey in unprecedented detail and has revolutionized our understanding of virus infection.In this Account, we first introduce the advantages and the limitations of conventional SVT in virological research and the unique features of QDs as labels in the SVT field. We subsequently focus on the principles and related methods of QSVT and the current state of QD chemistry and QD-based virus labeling that resolves many issues associated with the tracking of individual viruses in live cells. Then we emphasize some new findings by this technique in the study of infection mechanisms. Finally, we will provide our insights into future challenges on this topic. With this Account, we hope to further stimulate the development of QSVT with a combined effort from different disciplines and, more importantly, to accelerate the applications of QSVT in virological research.