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Imaging and Detection of Carboxylesterase in Living Cells and Zebrafish Pretreated with Pesticides by a New Near-Infrared Fluorescence Off–On Probe

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posted on 2017-05-05, 00:00 authored by Dongyu Li, Zhao Li, Weihua Chen, Xingbin Yang
A new near-infrared fluorescence off–on probe was developed and applied to fluorescence imaging of carboxylesterase in living HepG-2 cells and zebrafish pretreated with pesticides (carbamate, organophosphorus, and pyrethroid). The probe was readily prepared by connecting (4-acetoxybenzyl)­oxy as a quenching and recognizing moiety to a stable hemicyanine skeleton that can be formed via the decomposition of IR-780. The fluorescence off–on response of the probe to carboxylesterase is based on the enzyme-catalyzed spontaneous hydrolysis of the carboxylic ester bond, followed by a further fragmentation of the phenylmethyl unit and thereby the fluorophore release. Compared with the only existing near-infrared carboxylesterase probe, the proposed probe exhibits superior analytical performance, such as near-infrared fluorescence emission over 700 nm as well as high selectivity and sensitivity, with a detection limit of 4.5 × 10–3 U/mL. More importantly, the probe is cell membrane permeable, and its applicability has been successfully demonstrated for monitoring carboxylesterase activity in living HepG-2 cells and zebrafish pretreated with pesticides, revealing that pesticides can effectively inhibit the activity of carboxylesterase. The superior properties of the probe make it of great potential use in indicating pesticide exposure.

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