A Water-Soluble Fluorescent Probe for the Selective Sensing of Ag+ and its Application in Imaging of Living Cells and Nematodes

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In this study, an imidazole-coumarin based fluorescent probe was developed for the selective and sensitive detection of Ag+ in aqueous solution. Using a combination of Job plot, NMR titrations, and DFT calculations, the binding properties between Ag+ and the probe were deeply investigated, and the results revealed a 1:1 binding stoichiometry between the probe and Ag+ with a binding constant of 1.02 × 106 M−1. The detection limit was found to be 150 nM, which satisfies the requirement for the quantitative detection of Ag+ in real water samples. Moreover, the new probe, Ic, was successfully applied to sense Ag+ in HeLa and HepG2 cells as well as in C. elegans, indicating that it could be a useful tool for the environmental monitoring of Ag+ pollution. These results demonstrated that Ic could serve as a high-efficiency and low-cost fluorescent probe for tracking Ag+ in an aquatic environment and biological organisms.

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This work was supported by Grants from the National Science and Technology Major Project of the Ministry of Science and Technology of China (2018ZX09721004-006), the Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine of Sichuan Province (2018JC013), the Science and Technology Planning Project of Sichuan Province (2016JY0101, 2017JQ0052, 2018JY0237, 2019JDPT0010), the Joint Fund of Luzhou City and Southwest Medical University (2015LZCYD-S01, 2018LZXNYD-ZK18, 2018LZXNYD-ZK28), the Educational Commission of Sichuan Province (18ZA0528, 18TD0051), the Open Program of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging Key Laboratory of Sichuan Province (HYX18010, HYX19018), and the Health Commission of Sichuan Province (18PJ019). We gratefully acknowledge Dr. Zengjin Liu for assistance in probe synthesis.

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Correspondence to Muhan Lü or Jianming Wu or Sicheng Liang.

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Jiang, X., Yang, Y., Li, H. et al. A Water-Soluble Fluorescent Probe for the Selective Sensing of Ag+ and its Application in Imaging of Living Cells and Nematodes. J Fluoresc (2020).

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  • Silver(I) ion
  • Fluorescent probe
  • Binding mechanism
  • Real water sample
  • Bioimaging