Document Type


Publication Date



Department of Chemistry


Two near-infrared fluorescent probes (A and B) containing hemicyanine structures appended to dipicolylamine (DPA), and a dipicolylamine derivative where one pyridine was substituted with pyrazine, respectively, were synthesized and tested for the identification of Zn(II) ions in live cells. In both probes, an acetyl group is attached to the phenolic oxygen atom of the hemicyanine platform to decrease the probe fluorescence background. Probe A displays sensitive fluorescence responses and binds preferentially to Zn(II) ions over other metal ions such as Cd2+ ions with a low detection limit of 0.45 nM. In contrast, the emission spectra of probe B is not significantly affected if Zn(II) ions are added. Probe A possesses excellent membrane permeability and low cytotoxicity, allowing for sensitive imaging of both exogenously supplemented Zn(II) ions in live cells, and endogenously releases Zn(II) ions in cells after treatment of 2,2-dithiodipyridine

Publisher's Statement

© 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( Publisher’s version of record:

Publication Title


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Publisher's PDF

Included in

Chemistry Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.