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Org Biomol Chem. 2005 Apr 21;3(8):1387-92. Epub 2005 Mar 16.

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

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  • 1State Key Laboratory of Fine Chemicals, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian, China.


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 pKa 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.

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