A near-infrared fluorescent probe for ratiometric sensing of SO2 in cells and zebrafish†
Developing suitable molecular tools for monitoring SO2 and its derivatives in living organisms is attractive due to their importance for human health. Herein, the first near-infrared fluorescent probe Mito-HN with aggregation-induced emission enhancement (AIEE) characteristics for ratiometric sensing of SO2 derivatives in vitro, in cells, and in zebrafish was designed and synthesized. By connecting the electron-donating naphthopyran and electron-withdrawing hemicyanine via the alkenyl group, this probe displays a near-infrared fluorescence emission and notable solid-state luminescence with AIEE features. Based on the specific 1,4-addition reaction of HSO3−/SO32− with the CC double bond of Mito-HN, this probe can specifically sense HSO3− in real time with an excellent near-infrared ratiometric fluorescence effect, a low detection limit of 0.17 μM, and a fast response time of less than 30 s. Cell imaging and zebrafish imaging results demonstrate that Mito-HN can ratiometrically not only sense endogenous SO2 derivatives in mitochondria but also monitor SO2 in living organisms. We anticipate that Mito-HN could be applied for the diagnosis of SO2-related diseases in the future.