Fluorescent Probe HKSOX-1 for imaging and detection of endogenous superoxide in live cells and in vivo

Jun Jacob Hu, Nai Kei Wong, Sen Ye, Xingmiao Chen, Ming Yang Lu, Angela Qian Zhao, Yuhan Guo, Chun Hang Ma, Anskar Yu Hung Leung, Jiangang Shen, Dan Yang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

171 Citations (Scopus)


Superoxide anion radical (O2-) is undoubtedly the most important primary reactive oxygen species (ROS) found in cells, whose formation and fate are intertwined with diverse physiological and pathological processes. Here we report a highly sensitive and selective O2- detecting strategy involving O2- cleavage of an aryl trifluoromethanesulfonate group to yield a free phenol. We have synthesized three new O2- fluorescent probes (HKSOX-1, HKSOX-1r for cellular retention, and HKSOX-1m for mitochondria-targeting) which exhibit excellent selectivity and sensitivity toward O2- over a broad range of pH, strong oxidants, and abundant reductants found in cells. In confocal imaging, flow cytometry, and 96-well microplate assay, HKSOX-1r has been robustly applied to detect O2- in multiple cellular models, such as inflammation and mitochondrial stress. Additionally, our probes can be efficiently applied to visualize O2- in intact live zebrafish embryos. These probes open up exciting opportunities for unmasking the roles of O2- in health and disease.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6837-6843
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jun 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry

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