Control strategy of displacement processes to sense biothiols via fluorescent changes

Nahyun Kwon, Joohee Hong, Gyoungmi Kim, Eun Jin Jun, Juyoung Yoon

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4 Scopus citations


Two different bis-pyrene derivatives BP-1 and BP-2 were synthesized, which showed efficient fluorescent quenching by Cu2+. The addition of biothiols, such as GSH, Cys, and Hcy, restored their fluorescent emissions. Differences in the affinities of BP-1 and BP-2 for Cu2+ were successfully applied to the different detection limits and the linear detection range of biothiols. An NH moiety and a sulfur atom in the linker were the only differences between BP-1 and BP-2. Since BP-1 bound Cu2+ more tightly than BP-2, BP-1-Cu2+ required more GSH, Cys, and Hcy equivalents to restore the fluorescent emission. In contrast, only two equivalents of biothiols restored the original emission of BP-2-Cu2+. As a proof-of-concept, we demonstrated that molecular recognition chemistry and host-gest chemistry, more specifically the modulation of metal ion recognition, can be successfully applied to biothiol detection, especially over different concentration ranges. BP-1 showed a fluorescent quenching effect in living cells upon the addition of Cu2+ and BP-1-Cu2+ was also successfully applied to imaging biothiols in living cells.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107871
JournalDyes and Pigments
StatePublished - Feb 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019


  • Biothiol selective probes
  • Cu selective fluorescent probes
  • Displacement approach
  • Fluorescent imaging probes
  • Fluorescent probe for GSH


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