Bioluminescence imaging of carbon monoxide in living cells based on a selective deiodination reaction
D-Luciferin is a popular bioluminescent substrate of luciferase in the presence of ATP, used in luciferase-based bioluminescence imaging and cell-based high-throughput screening applications. Herein, the iodination of D-luciferin was excised and explored as a bioluminescence (BL) probe needless of exciting light to sensitively trace and image the CO in liver cancer cells. BL probe (7′-iodo-luciferin) exhibited excellent selectivity for CO detecting in vitro. In addition, this new probe was demonstrated for imaging of both exogenous and endogenous CO in cancer cells with low cytotoxicity. We envision that, in the future, this new probe might be used for evaluating the CO roles in various biological processes.