Jump to main content
Jump to site search


An enzyme-activatable probe liberating AIEgen: on-site sensing and long-term tracking of β-galactosidase in ovarian cancer cells

Abstract

Development of fluorescent probes for on-site sensing and long-term tracking of specific biomarkers is particularly desirable for the early detection of diseases. However, available small-molecule probes tend to facilely diffuse across the cell membrane, or remain at the activation site but always suffer from aggregation-caused quenching (ACQ) effect. Here we report an enzyme-activatable aggregation-induced emission (AIE) probe QM-βgal, which is composed of a hydrophilic β-galactosidase (β-gal)-triggered galactose moiety and a hydrophobic AIE-active fluorophore QM-OH. The probe is virtually non-emissive in aqueous media, but when activated by β-gal, specific enzymatic turnover would liberate hydrophobic AIE luminogen (AIEgen) QM-OH, and then highly fluorescent nanoaggregates are in situ generated as a result of AIE process, allowing for on-site sensing of endogenous β-gal activity in living cells. Notably, taking advantage of improved intracellular retention of nanoaggregates, we further exemplify QM-βgal for long-term (∼12 h) visualization of β-gal-overexpressed ovarian cancer cells with high fidelity, which is essential for biomedicine and diagnostics. Thus, this enzyme-activatable AIE probe not only is a potent tool for elucidating the roles of β-gal in biological systems, but also offers an enzyme-regulated liberating strategy to exploit multifunctional probes for preclinical applications

Back to tab navigation

Supplementary files

Publication details

The article was received on 25 Sep 2018, accepted on 09 Oct 2018 and first published on 09 Oct 2018


Article type: Edge Article
DOI: 10.1039/C8SC04266G
Citation: Chem. Sci., 2018, Accepted Manuscript
  • Open access: Creative Commons BY-NC license
  •   Request permissions

    An enzyme-activatable probe liberating AIEgen: on-site sensing and long-term tracking of β-galactosidase in ovarian cancer cells

    K. Gu, W. Qiu, Z. Guo, C. Yan, S. Zhu, D. Yao, P. Shi, H. Tian and W. Zhu, Chem. Sci., 2018, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C8SC04266G

    This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported Licence. Material from this article can be used in other publications provided that the correct acknowledgement is given with the reproduced material and it is not used for commercial purposes.

    Reproduced material should be attributed as follows:

    • For reproduction of material from NJC:
      [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) on behalf of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and the RSC.
    • For reproduction of material from PCCP:
      [Original citation] - Published by the PCCP Owner Societies.
    • For reproduction of material from PPS:
      [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) on behalf of the European Society for Photobiology, the European Photochemistry Association, and RSC.
    • For reproduction of material from all other RSC journals:
      [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry.

    Information about reproducing material from RSC articles with different licences is available on our Permission Requests page.

Search articles by author

Spotlight

Advertisements