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Boronic Acid: A Bio-Inspired Strategy To Increase the Sensitivity and Selectivity of Fluorescent NADH Probe

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journal contribution
posted on 08.08.2016, 00:00 by Lu Wang, Jingye Zhang, Beomsue Kim, Juanjuan Peng, Stuart N. Berry, Yong Ni, Dongdong Su, Jungyeol Lee, Lin Yuan, Young-Tae Chang
Fluorescent probes have emerged as an essential tool in the molecular recognition events in biological systems; however, due to the complex structures of certain biomolecules, it remains a challenge to design small-molecule fluorescent probes with high sensitivity and selectivity. Inspired by the enzyme-catalyzed reaction between biomolecule and probe, we present a novel combination-reaction two-step sensing strategy to improve sensitivity and selectivity. Based on this strategy, we successfully prepared a turn-on fluorescent reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) probe, in which boronic acid was introduced to bind with NADH and subsequently accelerate the sensing process. This probe shows remarkably improved sensitivity (detection limit: 0.084 μM) and selectivity to NADH in the absence of any enzymes. In order to improve the practicality, the boronic acid was further modified to change the measurement conditions from alkalescent (pH 9.5) to physiological environment (pH 7.4). Utilizing these probes, we not only accurately quantified the NADH weight in a health care product but also evaluated intracellular NADH levels in live cell imaging. Thus, these bio-inspired fluorescent probes offer excellent tools for elucidating the roles of NADH in biological systems as well as a practical strategy to develop future sensitive and selective probes for complicated biomolecules.