Chemosensors for pyrophosphate

K. I.M.Sook Kyung, L. E.E. Dong Hoon, Jong I.N. Hong, Juyoung Yoon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

196 Scopus citations


The selective detection of the anion pyrophosphate (PPi) is a major research focus. PPi is a biologically important target because it is the product of ATP hydrolysis under cellular conditions, and because it is involved in DNA replication catalyzed by DNA polymerase, its detection is being investigated as a realtime DNA sequencing method. In addition, within the past decade, the ability to detect PPi has become important in cancer research. In general, the sensing of anions in aqueous solution requires a strong affinity for anions in water as well as the ability to convert anion recognition into a fluorescent or colorimetric signal. Among the variety of methods for detecting PPi, fluorescent chemosensors and colorimetric sensors for PPi have attracted considerable attention during the past 10 years. Compared with the recognition of metal ions, it is much more challenging to selectively recognize anions in an aqueous system due to the strong hydration effects of anions. Consequently, the design of PPi sensors requires the following: an understanding of the molecular recognition between PPi and the binding sites, the desired solubility in aqueous solutions, the communicating and signaling mechanism, and most importantly, selectivity for PPi over other anions such as AMP and ADP, and particularly phosphate and ATP. This Account classifies chemosensors for PPi according to topological and structural characteristics. Types of chemosensors investigated and reported in this study include those that contain metal ion complexes, metal complexes combined with excimers, those that function with a displacement approach, and those based on hydrogen-bonding interaction. Thus far, the utilization of a metal ion complex as a binding site for PPi has been the most successful strategy. The strong binding affinity between metal ions and PPi allows the detection of PPi in a 100% aqueous solution. We have demonstrated that carefully designed receptors can distinguish between PPi and ATP based on their different total anionic charge densities. We have also demonstrated that a PPi metal ion complex sensor has a bioanalytical application. This sensor can be used in a simple and quick, one-step, homogeneous phase detection method in order to confirm DNA amplification after polymerase chain reaction (PCR).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-31
Number of pages9
JournalAccounts of Chemical Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2009


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