Highly selective ratiometric fluorescent probe for Au3+ and its application to bioimaging

Ji Young Choi, Gun Hee Kim, Zhiqian Guo, Hye Yeon Lee, K. M.K. Swamy, Jaeyoung Pai, Seunghoon Shin, Injae Shin, Juyoung Yoon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


The 4-propargylamino-1,8-naphthalimide based fluorescent probe 1 has been explored as a sensor for selective detection of Au3+. 4-Amino-1,8-naphthalimides, that possess typical intramolecular charge transfer (ICT) electronic characteristics, have been widely used as versatile platforms for fluorescent probes. The newly designed probe 1 contains a propargylamine moiety at C-4 of the naphthalimide chromophore that reacts with Au3+ to generate a product that has distinctly different electronic properties from 1. Specifically, the probe undergoes a remarkable change in its absorption spectrum upon addition of Au3+ that is associated with a distinct color change from yellow to light pink. In addition, a blue shift of ca. 56nm also takes place in the emission spectra of the probe. Consequently, 1 serves as a reaction-based sensor or so called chemodosimeter for Au3+. Importantly, surfactants enhance the rate of reaction of 1 with Au3+, thus, enhancing its use as a real time sensor. Finally, the results of studies probing its application to bioimaging of Au3+ in live cells show that the probe 1 has a unique ability to sense Au3+ in cells and, in particular, in lipid droplets within cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)438-441
Number of pages4
JournalBiosensors and Bioelectronics
StatePublished - 5 Nov 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by grants from the National Creative Research Initiative (I.S and J. Y) and WCU ( R32–10217 ) programs (NRF).


  • Au sensing
  • Cell imaging
  • Fluorescent probe
  • Lipid droplet
  • Naphthalimide


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