Rhodamine-thiourea Linked Naphthalimide Derivative to Image ATP in Mitochondria using Two Channels

You Rim Lee, Nahyun Kwon, K. M.K. Swamy, Gyoungmi Kim, Juyoung Yoon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Adenosine 5′-triphosphate (ATP), synthesized in mitochondria, is an energy molecule in all living things. ATP not only serves as an energy source for protein synthesis and muscle contraction, but also as an important indicator for various diseases, such as Parkinson's disease, cardiovascular disease, and others. Accordingly, detection and sensing of ATP, especially in mitochondria, are important. In this study, a unique ring-opening process of rhodamine was coupled to recognition of ATP via introduction of a thiourea moiety, which was further linked to a naphthalimide group. A strong fluorescent emission at ∼580 nm was accompanied by a color change from colorless to pink upon addition of ATP at pH 7.4. Fluorescent probe 1 successfully imaged mitochondrial ATP with a Pearson's coefficient of 0.8. In addition, green emission from the naphthalimide moiety at ∼530 nm was observed without any change upon addition of ATP. This emission can be considered equivalent to an internal standard to utilize probe 1 as a dual-channel probe for ATP. Furthermore, probe 1 showed negligible cytotoxicity based on MTT assays.

Original languageEnglish
JournalChemistry - An Asian Journal
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by a National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korean government (MSIT) (No. 2022R1A2C3005420). This work was supported by a Korea Basic Science Institute (National Research Facilities and Equipment Center) grant funded by the Ministry of Education (2020R 1A 6C 101B194). Mass spectrometric data were obtained from the Korea Basic Science Institute (Daegu) using a Jeol JMS 700 high‐resolution mass spectrometer.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Wiley-VCH GmbH.


  • fluorescent probe for ATP
  • mitochondria targeting
  • mitochondrial ATP
  • rhodamine


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