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Issue 14, 2017
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Near-infrared emitting iridium(III) complexes for mitochondrial imaging in living cells

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Biocompatible transition metal complexes dyes emitting in the near-infrared (NIR) region, are highly desirable in fluorescence imaging techniques. However, a high-performance mitochondria-specific labeling NIR probe with high photostability is still lacking. Herein we reported two NIR-emitting cationic iridium(III) complexes [Ir(pbq-g)2(N^N)]+Cl (pbq-g = phenylbenzo[g]-quinoline; N^N = 2-(1-benzyl-1H-pyrazol-3-yl) pyridine (Ir1) and 2-(1-(naphthalen-1-ylmethyl)-1H-pyrazol-3-yl) pyridine (Ir2)). These two novel Ir(III) complexes with different N^N ligands exhibited similar NIR emission with λmax at 751 nm for Ir1 and 750 nm for Ir2 in PBS solution, with luminescence quantum yields of around 0.62 for Ir1 and 0.85 for Ir2. These two complexes showed high mitochondrial specificity, superior photostability, high resistance to the loss of the mitochondrial membrane potential and appreciable tolerance to environmental changes, allowing NIR imaging of mitochondrial morphological changes over long periods of time. These excellent photophysical and imaging properties made them promising NIR luminescent tags for applications in bioimaging.

Graphical abstract: Near-infrared emitting iridium(iii) complexes for mitochondrial imaging in living cells

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Publication details

The article was received on 20 Jan 2017, accepted on 13 Mar 2017 and first published on 14 Mar 2017

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7DT00255F
Citation: Dalton Trans., 2017,46, 4777-4785
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    Near-infrared emitting iridium(III) complexes for mitochondrial imaging in living cells

    Y. Liu, P. Zhang, X. Fang, G. Wu, S. Chen, Z. Zhang, H. Chao, W. Tan and L. Xu, Dalton Trans., 2017, 46, 4777
    DOI: 10.1039/C7DT00255F

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