Ratiometric fluorescent and colorimetric BODIPY-based sensor for zinc ions in solution and living cells

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Department of Chemistry


Zinc ion detection in solution and living cells through colorimetric and ratiometric fluorescence with the novel Boron-dipyrromethene (BODIPY) based probe (BNDP) is described. The targeted modification of the established Bodipy fluorophore to trap zinc ions into the tetra-coordinating complex enables quantitative analysis of zinc ion concentrations detectable visually and through fluorescence due to the apparent color change between unbound and bound detection probe species. The equivalent-molar BNDP: Zn2+ complexation, evident through the Job’s plot, 1H NMR, and ESI–MS occurs with low nano-molar affinity, and induces significant changes in spectroscopic properties of BNDP, resulting in 27 nm and 40 nm red-shift in absorption and emission spectra, respectively. The complex is stable at physiological pH, allowing monitoring and quantifying levels of Zn2+ concentration change in living cells, and detecting intracellular Zn2+ released from intracellular metalloproteins.

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Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical