Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET)-based small-molecule sensors and imaging agents

Luling Wu, Chusen Huang, Ben P. Emery, Adam C. Sedgwick, Steven D. Bull, Xiao Peng He, He Tian, Juyoung Yoon, Jonathan L. Sessler, Tony D. James

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

417 Scopus citations


In this tutorial review, we will explore recent advances in the construction and application of Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET)-based small-molecule fluorescent probes. The advantages of FRET-based fluorescent probes include: a large Stokes shift, ratiometric sensing and dual/multi-analyte responsive systems. We discuss the underlying energy donor-acceptor dye combinations and emphasise their applications for the detection or imaging of cations, anions, small neutral molecules, biomacromolecules, cellular microenvionments and dual/multi-analyte responsive systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5110-5139
Number of pages30
JournalChemical Society Reviews
Issue number15
StatePublished - 7 Aug 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
LW wishes to thank China Scholarship Council and The University of Bath for supporting his PhD work in the UK. BE, SDB and TDJ would like to thank the EPSRC and The University of Bath for funding. TDJ wishes to thank the Royal Society for a Wolfson Research Merit Award. CH thanks the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grants 21672150, 21302125), Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (AvH), Shanghai Rising-Star Program (19QA1406400), Shanghai Engineering Research Center of Green Energy Chemical Engineering (18DZ2254200), and Program for Changjiang Scholars and Innovative (IRT_16R49). XPH, HT thank the Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 21788102, 21722801 and 91853201), Shanghai Municipal Science and Technology Major Project (2018SHZDZX03), the National Key Sci-Tech Special Projects of Infection Diseases of China (2018ZX10-732202) and the international cooperation program of Shanghai Science and Technology Committee (17520750100). JY acknowledges a grant from the National Creative Research Initiative programs of the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Korean government (MSIP) (No. 2012R1A3A-2048814). JLS thanks the National Institutes of Health (R01 GM103790) and the Robert A. Welch Foundation (F-0018) for support of the work carried out in Austin.

Funding Information:
Luling Wu received his MSc in 2017 from Shanghai Normal University. In 2017, he was awarded scholarships by the China Scholarship Council (CSC) and The University of Bath to carry out research towards a PhD at The University of Bath. Tony D. James is a Professor at The University of Bath and Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry. He was awarded the Daiwa-Adrian Prize (2013), Inaugural CASE Prize (2015), MSMLG Czarnik Award (2018) and currently holds a prestigious Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award (2017–2022). Steven D. Bull is a Professor of Organic Chemistry at The University of Bath. He was awarded a Royal Society Industrial Fellowship (2002–2006), the Daiwa-Adrian Prize (2013) and University of Bath Fromlefttoright:LulingWu,TonyD.James, prize for outstanding PhD supervision (2013). StevenD.BullandAdamC.Sedgwick Adam C. Sedgwick is a postdoctoral research fellow working under the supervision of Prof. Jonathan L. Sessler at The University of Texas in Austin. His research interests are in the realms of stimuli-responsive materials, molecular imaging agents, and theranostic agents.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Royal Society of Chemistry.


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