Two-photon fluorescence sensors for imaging NMDA receptors and monitoring release of Zn2+ from the presynaptic terminal

Xiaoqiang Chen, Chang Su Lim, Dayoung Lee, Songyi Lee, Sang Jun Park, Hwan Myung Kim, Juyoung Yoon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Synaptic Zn2+ plays an important role in neurotransmission and a neuromodulator. The development of the imaging tools for monitoring spatiotemporal changes taking place in synaptic Zn2+ concentrations is necessary in order to understand the role of Zn2+ in the function of many aspects of the glutamate system. In this work, two-photon probes 1 and 2, bearing ifenprodil-like tails that have affinity for NMDA receptors of neuronal cells, were designed and prepared. The two-photon fluorescent probe 1, which bears (N-(6-acetylnaphthalen-2-yl)-N-methylglycine) as two-photon fluorophore, enables high resolution imaging of neuronal cells. The two-photon fluorescent probe 2, which contains the di-2-picolylamine (DPA) as a Zn2+-binding site, the naphthalimide unit as the two-photon fluorophore, and the ifenprodil-like tail as the NMDA receptor binding moiety, can be employed for selective detection of Zn2+ located near the NMDA receptor and for monitoring concentration changes of Zn2+ in live neurons and hippocampal tissues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)770-779
Number of pages10
JournalBiosensors and Bioelectronics
StatePublished - 15 May 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported financially by grants from the National Creative Research Initiative Program (2012R1A3A2048814) and the National Leading Research Lab Program (2016R1E1A1A02920873). Mass spectral data were obtained from the Korea Basic Science Institute (Daegu) on a Jeol JMS 700 high resolution mass spectrometer. X. Chen acknowledges funding from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (21376117), the Jiangsu Natural Science Funds for Distinguished Young Scholars (BK20140043), and the Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions of China (14KJA150005).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier B.V.


  • Fluorescent probes
  • NMDA receptors
  • Presynaptic terminal
  • Two-photon imaging
  • Zinc ions


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