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Real-Time Discrimination and Versatile Profiling of Spontaneous Reactive Oxygen Species in Living Organisms with a Single Fluorescent Probe

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journal contribution
posted on 03.03.2016, 00:00 by Ruilong Zhang, Jun Zhao, Guangmei Han, Zhengjie Liu, Cui Liu, Cheng Zhang, Bianhua Liu, Changlong Jiang, Renyong Liu, Tingting Zhao, Ming-Yong Han, Zhongping Zhang
Fluorescent probes are powerful tools for the investigations of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in living organisms by visualization and imaging. However, the multiparallel assays of several ROS with multiple probes are often limited by the available number of spectrally nonoverlapping chromophores together with large invasive effects and discrepant biological locations. Meanwhile, the spontaneous ROS profilings in various living organs/tissues are also limited by the penetration capability of probes across different biological barriers and the stability in reactive in vivo environments. Here, we report a single fluorescent probe to achieve the effective discrimination and profiling of hydroxyl radicals (•OH) and hypochlorous acid (HClO) in living organisms. The probe is constructed by chemically grafting an additional five-membered heterocyclic ring and a lateral triethylene glycol chain to a fluorescein mother, which does not only turn off the fluorescence of fluorescein, but also create the dual reactive sites to ROS and the penetration capability in passing through various biological barriers. The reactions of probe with •OH and HClO simultaneously result in cyan and green emissions, respectively, providing the real-time discrimination and quantitative analysis of the two ROS in cellular mitochondria. Surprisingly, the accumulation of probes in the intestine and liver of a normal-state zebrafish and the transfer pathway from intestine-to-blood-to-organ/tissue-to-kidney-to-excretion clearly present the profiling of spontaneous •OH and HClO in these metabolic organs. In particular, the stress generation of •OH at the fresh wound of zebrafish is successfully visualized for the first time, in spite of its extremely short lifetime.