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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry