Simultaneous fluorescent imaging of Cys/Hcy and GSH from different emission channels†
A 4-methoxythiophenol-substituted pyronin dye 1 was exploited as reaction-type fluorescent probe for biothiols Cys/Hcy and GSH. The probe itself is nonfluorescent due to the photoinduced electron transfer (PET) process. The Cys (or Hcy)-induced substitution–rearrangement cascade reaction and GSH-induced substitution reaction with the probe lead to the corresponding aminopyronin and thiopyronin dyes with distinct photophysical properties, enabling Cys/Hcy and GSH to be detected from visible and near-infrared (NIR) emission channels, respectively, in pure PB buffer with relatively fast kinetics and obvious fluorescence turn-on response. Assisted by laser scanning confocal microscope, we also demonstrated that probe 1 could simultaneously sense Cys/Hcy and GSH in B16 cells in multicolor imaging.