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Chemiluminescent acridinium dimethylphenyl ester labels are used in automated immunoassays for clinical diagnostics. Light emission from these labels is triggered by alkaline peroxide in the presence of the cationic surfactant cetyltrimethylammonium chloride (CTAC). The surfactant plays a critical role in the chemiluminescence process of these labels by both accelerating their emission kinetics and increasing total light output enabling high throughout and improved assay sensitivity in automated immunoassays. Despite the surfactant's crucial role in the chemiluminescent reaction, no study has investigated how structural perturbations in the acridinium ring could impact the influence of the surfactant. We describe herein the synthesis and properties of three new alkoxy-substituted, acridinium dimethylphenyl esters where the nature of the alkoxy group in the acridinium ring was varied (hydrophobic or hydrophilic). Chemiluminescence measurements of these alkoxy-substituted labels indicate that hydrophilic functional groups in the acridinium ring, in particular sulfobetaine zwitterions, disrupt surfactant-mediated compression of emission times but not enhancement of light yield. These results support the hypothesis that surfactant-mediated effects require the binding of two different reaction intermediates to surfactant aggregates and, that surfactants influence light emission from acridinium esters by two separate mechanisms. Our studies also indicate that preservation of both surfactant effects on acridinium ester chemiluminescence and low non-specific binding of the label can be achieved with a relatively hydrophobic acridinium ring coupled to a hydrophilic phenolic ester leaving group.
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Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry
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