Fabrication of a fluorescent probe for reversibly monitoring mitochondrial membrane potential in living cells†
Mitochondria are important organelles in cells, which play an important role in metabolism and many other vital biological events. Mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) is a significant biological parameter participating in various procedures. However, fluorescent probes for monitoring MMP are rarely reported, which greatly limited the related studies. Herein, we present the rational design, synthesis, and living cell imaging studies of a fluorescent probe REP for monitoring MMP changes based on organic cationic fluorophores. In live cells with high MMP levels, REP can exclusively light up mitochondria with intense fluorescence. Upon the loss of MMP, the emission of intracellular REP evidently decreased. The reversible changes in MMP have been successfully monitored by REP, and the oxidative damages to live cells have been detected with the probe. The probe is expected to serve as a desired tool in studying MMP and related areas.