A fluorescent pH probe for acidic organelles in living cells†
A water-soluble pH sensor, 2-(6-(4-aminostyryl)-1,3-dioxo-1H-benzo[de]isoquinolin-2(3H)-yl)-N, N-dimethylethanamine (ADA), was synthesized based on the molecular design of photoinduced electron transfer (PET) and intramolecular charge transfer (ICT). The fluorescence emission response against a pH value is in the range 3–6, which is suitable for labelling intracellular pH-dependent microenvironments. After biological evolution, ADA is more than a pH biosensor because it is also an endocytosis pathway tracking biosensor that labels endosomes, late endosomes, and lysosome pH gradients. From this, the emissive aggregates of ADA and protonated-ADA in these organs were evaluated to explore how this probe stresses emission colour change to cause these unique cellular images.