CdSe/ZnS QDs enable the optical probing of the biocatalytic oxidation of tyrosine derivatives and of the scission of peptides by thrombin. CdSe/ZnS QDs were modified with tyrosine methyl ester or with a tyrosine-containing peptide. The tyrosine units were reacted with tyrosinase/O2 to yield the respective l-DOPA and quinone derivatives. The luminescence of QDs modified by the enzyme-generated quinone units is quenched. The quinone-functionalized peptide associated with the QDs was cleaved by thrombin, a process that restored the luminescence of the QDs.