Microchimica Acta

, Volume 184, Issue 9, pp 3521–3528 | Cite as

A turn-on fluorescent lysine nanoprobe based on the use of the Alizarin Red aluminum(III) complex conjugated to graphene oxide, and its application to cellular imaging of lysine

  • Rumei Cheng
  • Yu Peng
  • Congcong Ge
  • Yexu Bu
  • Hongyan Liu
  • Huiying Huang
  • Shengju Ou
  • Yuhua XueEmail author
  • Liming Dai
Original Paper


The authors describe a rationally designed nanoprobe for the fluorometric determination of lysine. It is based on a ternary complex consisting of graphene oxide, aluminum ions (acting as a bridging agent), and alizarin red (GO-Al-AR). The fluorescence of the complex (with excitation/emission maxima at 440/512 nm) is weak but significantly enhanced upon the addition of lysine, probably due to a photoinduced electron transfer signalling mechanism. The method has a detection limit of 2 mg L−1 of lysine and a linear range from 25 mg L−1 to 250 mg L−1. It was applied to image lysine in human retinal pigment epithelium cells.

Graphical abstract

Schematic of a fluorescent nanosensor composed of graphene oxide, aluminum (III) ions and Alizarin Red to image lysine in human retinal pigment epithelium cells.


Graphene oxide Alizarin red Lysine Aluminum complex Photoinduced electron transfer 



The National Natural Science Foundation of China (21405115, 51202167), the National “Thousand Talents Program”, the Wenzhou Bureau of Science and Technology (Y20120218), the technology project of Zhejiang Province Medical and Health Project (2015KYB254, 2017KY492) and Ophthalmology & Optometry of Wenzhou Medical University (YNCX201408) are acknowledged.

Compliance with ethical standards

The author(s) declare that they have no competing interests.

Supplementary material

604_2017_2375_MOESM1_ESM.doc (4.5 mb)
ESM 1 (DOC 4569 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rumei Cheng
    • 1
  • Yu Peng
    • 1
  • Congcong Ge
    • 1
  • Yexu Bu
    • 1
  • Hongyan Liu
    • 1
  • Huiying Huang
    • 1
  • Shengju Ou
    • 2
  • Yuhua Xue
    • 1
    Email author
  • Liming Dai
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute of Advanced Materials for Nano-Bio Applications, School of Ophthalmology & OptometryWenzhou Medical UniversityWenzhouChina
  2. 2.Hangzhou Zheda Femtosecond Inspection Co. Ltd.Zhejiang University National Science ParkHangzhouChina
  3. 3.Center of Advanced Science and Engineering for Carbon (Case4Carbon), Department of Macromolecular Science and EngineeringCase Western Reserve UniversityClevelandUSA

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