Sulphide activity-dependent multicolor emission dye and its applications in in vivo imaging†
Reactive sulfur species (RSS) play pivotal roles in various pathological and physiological processes. There exists an intricate relevance in generation and metabolism among these substances. Although they are nucleophilic, there are still some differences in their reactivity. There are many methods to detect them by using reactive fluorescent probes, but the systematic study of their reactivity is still lacking. In our study, we designed a multiple reaction site fluorescent probe based on benzene conjugated benzopyrylium and NBD. The study revealed that besides both biothiols and hydrogen sulfide, sulfur dioxide (SO2) can cleave the ether bond. There are two reaction forms for GSH with low reactivity: cutting the ether bond and adding the conjugated double bond of benzopyrylium. Nevertheless, Cys/Hcy with higher activity can further rearrange with NBD after cutting the ether bond. In addition, SO2 can not only cleave the ether bond, but also continue to add the conjugated double bond of benzopyrylium. The above processes lead to multicolor emission of the probe, thus realizing the characteristic analysis of different sulfides. Thus the probe can be used for the detection of sulfide in mitochondria, and further for the imaging of sulfide in cells and zebrafish. This effective analysis method will provide a broad application prospect for practical applications.