Boron dipyrromethene fluorophore based fluorescence sensor for the selective imaging of Zn(II) in living cells

Yunkou Wu, Xiaojun Peng, Binchen Guo, Jiangli Fan, Zhichao Zhang, Jingyun Wang, Aijun Cui, Yunling Gao

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175 Scopus citations


A simple PET fluorescence sensor (BDA) for Zn2- that utilizes 1,3,5,7-tetramethyl-boron dipyrromethene as a reporting group and di(2-picolyl)amine as a chelator for Zn2+ has been synthesized and characterized. BDA has an excitation (491 nm) and emission wavelength (509 nm) in the visible range. The fluorescence quantum yields of the zinc-free and zinc-bound states of BDA are 0.077 and 0.857, respectively. With a low pK a of 2.1 ± 0.1, BDA has the advantage of less sensitivity to pH than fluorescein-based Zn2+ sensors, and the fluorescence emission of zinc-binding is pH-independent in the range of pH 3-10. Under physiological conditions, metal ions such as Na+ K-, Ca2+:, Mg2+, Mn2+ and Fe2+ have little interference. The apparent dissociation constant (Kd) is 1.0 ± 0.1 nM. Using fluorescence microscopy, the sensor is shown to be capable of imaging intracellular Zn2+ changes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1387-1392
Number of pages6
JournalOrganic and Biomolecular Chemistry
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 21 2005


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry

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