A review: the trend of progress about pH probes in cell application in recent years
Intracellular pH values are some of the most important factors that govern biological processes and the acid–base homeostasis in cells, body fluids and organs sustains the normal operations of the body. Subcellular organelles including the acidic lysosomes and the alkalescent mitochondria undergo various processes such as intracellular digestion, ATP production and apoptosis. Due to their precise imaging capabilities, fluorescent probes have attracted great attention for the illustration of pH modulated processes. Furthermore, based on the unique acidic extracellular environment of acidic lysosomes, fluorescent probes can specifically be activated in cancer cells or tumors. In this review, recently reported lysosome and mitochondria specific pH imaging probes as well as pH-activatable cancer cell-targetable probes have been discussed.