A thiocoumarin-based turn-on fluorescent probe for hypochlorite detection and its application to live-cell imaging

Van Nghia Nguyen, Seonye Heo, Sangin Kim, K. M.K. Swamy, Jeongsun Ha, Sungnam Park, Juyoung Yoon

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46 Scopus citations


A thiocoumarin-based turn-on fluorescence probe for the detection of hypochlorite anion (ClO) was prepared and characterized. Coumarin dye (CZCN-O) exhibited intense fluorescence with good quantum yields (ΦPL = 0.98) in acetonitrile. Contrastingly, the fluorescence of thiocoumarin dye (CZCN-S) was almost completely quenched (ΦPL < 0.01) because of the efficient intersystem crossing from the emissive singlet excited state to the non-emissive triplet state. The addition of ClO to the PBS buffer (pH = 7.4, containing 50% ACN) of thiocoumarin resulted in a remarkable fluorescence enhancement with an emission maximum at 486 nm, indicating the sensitive OFF–ON fluorescence sensing of ClO. The calculated detection limit of ClO in 50% aqueous ACN was 0.17 μM. An investigation of the sensing behavior to various analytes revealed that thiocoumarin dye had an excellent selectivity for ClO. The recognition mechanism was attributed to the ClO-induced conversion of thiocarbonyl coumarin into its oxo analogue through oxidative desulfurization. In particular, cell studies demonstrated that thiocoumarin dye could be used as an effective fluorescent probe for the detection of ClO in living cells.

Original languageEnglish
Article number128213
JournalSensors and Actuators, B: Chemical
StatePublished - 15 Aug 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by grants from the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Korean government (MSIP) (No. 2012R1A3A2048814 for J.Y. and No. 2019R1A6A1A11044070 for S.P.). High-resolution mass spectrometer analysis was performed on the Synapt G2-HDMS mass spectrometer (Waters, Manchester, UK), which was operated on the MassLynx 4.1 software at KBSI (Korea Basic Science Institue, Ochang, Center of Research Equipment).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier B.V.


  • Desulfurization
  • Fluorescence imaging
  • Fluorescent probe
  • Hypochlorite
  • Sulfur-substituted coumarin


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