Synthesis of a highly HOCl-selective fluorescent probe and its use for imaging HOCl in cells and organisms

Xiaoqiang Chen, Kyung Ah Lee, Xintong Ren, Jae Chan Ryu, Gyungmi Kim, Ji Hwan Ryu, Won Jae Lee, Juyoung Yoon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

147 Scopus citations


During infection, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate-oxidase of innate immune cells generates important microbicidal reactive oxygen species (ROS) such as hypochlorous acid (HOCl) to kill the invading pathogens. However, excess amounts of HOCl induce oxidative damage of functional biomolecules such as DNA and proteins, which may cause chronic inflammatory diseases. Herein, we outline protocols for the preparation of a rhodamine-based HOCl probe, as well as applications thereof, with which to detect HOCl in living cells and organisms. The probe (R19S) can be prepared from a commercially available rhodamine, rhodamine 6G, in two steps. When R19S is treated with HOCl, the sulfur atom is replaced by an oxygen atom, resulting in opening of the lactone ring; thus, nonfluorescent R19S is converted to highly fluorescent rhodamine 19 (R19). R19S exhibits high selectivity for HOCl over other ROS and high sensitivity in a weakly acidic environment. In addition, we describe fluorescence imaging assays of HOCl in mouse neutrophils and Drosophila targeted using this probe. The approximate amount of time required to synthesize the probe is 2-3 d, after which it can be used for up to 5 h in the bioimaging of living cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1219-1228
Number of pages10
JournalNature Protocols
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2016


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