Naphthalimide-porphyrin hybrid based ratiometric bioimaging probe for Hg2+: well-resolved emission spectra and unique specificity

Chun-Yan Li, Xiao-Bing Zhang, Li Qiao, Yan Zhao, Chun-Mei He, Shuang-Yan Huan, Li-Min Lu, Li-Xin Jian, Guo-Li Shen, Ru-Qin Yu
Analytical Chemistry 2009 December 15, 81 (24): 9993-10001
In this paper, we unveil a novel naphthalimide-porphyrin hybrid based fluorescence probe (1) for ratiometric detection of Hg(2+) in aqueous solution and living cells. The ratiometric signal change of the probe is based on a carefully predesigned molecule containing two independent Hg(2+)-sensitive fluorophores with their maximal excitation wavelengths located at the same range, which shows reversibly specific ratiometric fluorescence responses induced by Hg(2+). In the new developed sensing system, the emissions of the two fluorophores are well-resolved with a 125 nm difference between two emission maxima, which can avoid the emission spectra overlap problem generally met by spectra-shift type probes and is especially favorable for ratiometric imaging intracellular Hg(2+). It also benefits from a large range of emission ratios and thereby a high sensitivity for Hg(2+) detection. Under optimized experimental conditions, the probe exhibits a stable response for Hg(2+) over a concentration range from 1.0 x 10(-7) to 5.0 x 10(-5) M, with a detection limit of 2.0 x 10(-8) M. The response of the probe toward Hg(2+) is reversible and fast (response time less than 2 min). Most importantly, the ratiometric fluorescence changes of the probe are remarkably specific for Hg(2+) in the presence of other abundant cellular metal ions (i.e., Na(+), K(+), Mg(2+), and Ca(2+)), essential transition metal ions in cells (such as Zn(2+), Fe(3+), Fe(2+), Cu(2+), Mn(2+), Co(2+), and Ni(2+)), and environmentally relevant heavy metal ions (Ag(+), Pb(2+), Cr(3+), and Cd(2+)), which meets the selective requirements for biomedical and environmental monitoring application. The recovery test of Hg(2+) in real water samples demonstrates the feasibility of the designed sensing system for Hg(2+) assay in practical samples. It has also been used for ratiometric imaging of Hg(2+) in living cells with satisfying resolution, which indicates that our novel designed probe has effectively avoided the general emission spectra overlap problem of other ratiometric probes.

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