Rational design of a quantitative, pH-insensitive, nucleic acid based fluorescent chloride reporter†
Chloride plays a major role in cellular homeostasis by regulating the lumenal pH of intracellular organelles. We have described a pH-independent, fluorescent chloride reporter called Clensor that has successfully measured resting chloride in organelles of living cells. Here, we describe the rational design of Clensor. Clensor integrates a chloride sensitive fluorophore called 10,10′-bis[3-carboxypropyl]-9,9′-biacridinium dinitrate (BAC) with the programmability, modularity and targetability available to nucleic acid scaffolds. We show that simple conjugation of BAC to a DNA backbone fails to yield a viable chloride-sensitive reporter. Fluorescence intensity and lifetime investigations on a series of BAC-functionalized structural variants yielded molecular insights that guided the rational design and successful realization of the chloride sensitive fluorescent reporter, Clensor. This study provides some general design principles that would aid the realization of diverse ion-sensitive nucleic acid reporters based on the sensing strategy of Clensor.
- This article is part of the themed collection: ISACS19: Challenges in Organic Chemistry