Near-infrared rhodol dyes bearing salicylaldehyde moieties for ratiometric pH sensing in live cells during mitophagy and under hypoxia conditions

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Department of Chemistry; Health Research Institute


We describe a simple but efficient approach to make fluorescent probes A and B based on rhodol dyes incorporated with salicyaldehyde moiety for monitoring pH changes in mitochondria under oxidative stresses and hypoxia conditions, and for tracking mitophagy processes. Probes A and B possess pKa values (pKa ≈ 6.41 and 6.83 respectively) near physiological pH and exhibit decent mitochondria-targeted capabilities, low cytotoxicity, and useful ratiometric and reversible pH responses, which make the probes appropriate for monitoring pH fluctuations of mitochondria in living cells with built-in calibration feature for quantitative analysis. The probes have been effectively useful for the ratiometric determination of pH variations of mitochondria under the stimuli of carbonyl cyanide-4(trifluoromethoxy)phenylhydrazone (FCCP), hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), and N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), and during mitophagy triggered by cell nutrient deprivation, and under hypoxia conditions with cobalt chloride (CoCl2) treatment in living cells. In addition, probe A was efficient in visualizing pH changes in the larvae of fruit flies.

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Journal of Materials Chemistry B