An esterase-cleavable persulfide donor with no electrophilic byproducts and a fluorescence reporter†
Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and associated sulfur species known as persulfide or sulfane sulfur are considered among the first responders to oxidative stress. However, tools that reliably generate these species without any potentially toxic byproducts are limited, and even fewer report the generation of a persulfide. Here, using a latent fluorophore embedded with N-acetylcysteine persulfide, we report a new tool that is cleaved by esterase to produce a persulfide as well as a fluorescence reporter without any electrophilic byproducts. The rate of formation of the fluorescence reporter is nearly identical to the rate of formation of the persulfide suggesting that the use of this probe eliminates the need for secondary assays that report persulfide formation. Symptomatic with persulfide generation, the newly developed donor was able to protect chondrocyte cells from oxidative stress.