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Chem Sci. 2017 Mar 1;8(3):1915-1921. doi: 10.1039/c6sc04158b. Epub 2016 Nov 8.

Responsive hetero-organelle partition conferred fluorogenic sensing of mitochondrial depolarization.

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State Key Laboratory for Physical Chemistry of Solid Surfaces , Department of Chemical Biology , College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering , The Key Laboratory for Chemical Biology of Fujian Province , The MOE Key Laboratory of Spectrochemical Analysis & Instrumentation , Innovation Center for Cell Signalling Network , Xiamen University , Xiamen , 361005 , China . Email: ; Tel: +86-0592-2181728.
State Key Laboratory of Cellular Stress Biology , Innovation Center for Cell Signalling Network , School of Life Sciences , Xiamen University , Xiamen , 361005 , China.


Malfunctioning organelles are often difficult to probe with classical organelle-homing sensors owing to disruption of physiological organelle-probe affinity. We herein report the use of a responsive hetero-organelle partition and signal activable probe (RC-TPP) for detecting mitochondrial depolarization, a pathologically relevant event featuring loss of the electrical potentials across the mitochondrial membrane (ΔΨm). Partitioned in mitochondria to give blue fluorescence, RC-TPP relocates into lysosomes upon mitochondrial depolarization and exhibits red fluorescence triggered by lysosomal acidity, enabling determination of autophagy relevant mitochondrial depolarization and the chronological sequence of mitochondrial depolarization and lysosomal neutralization in distinct cell death signalling pathways. As an alternative to classic homo-organelle specific molecular systems, this hetero-organelle responsive approach provides a new perspective from which to study dysfunctional organelles.

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