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Selective detection of sulfide in human lung cancer cells with a blue-fluorescent “ON–OFF–ON” benzimidazole-based chemosensor ensemble

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Abstract

A completely water-soluble, high quantum yield blue-fluorescent benzimidazole derivative (AQ), containing a rigid benzimidazole-thiophene structure, was synthesized. Among 21 metal ions, the fluorescence of AQ was selectively turned off by Cu2+ to form an AQ-Cu2+ ensemble. Thereafter, the fluorescence of the AQ-Cu2+ ensemble was turned on by sulfide (S2−) with high selectivity and sensitivity in pure water solution. In comparison with AQ-Ag+ and AQ-Hg2+ ensembles, AQ-Cu2+ was the only ensemble that was capable of detecting a sulfide anion. Also, the fluorescence intensity of AQ was linearly proportional to the concentration of Cu2+ and S2−. Both Cu2+ and S2− were detected within a minute in vitro. Moreover, AQ worked best in the pH range of 5–10 and had a limit of detection of 50 nM and 354 nM for Cu2+ and S2− respectively. It was employed for the detection of sulfide in human lung cancer A549 cells with low cytotoxicity.

Graphical abstract: Selective detection of sulfide in human lung cancer cells with a blue-fluorescent “ON–OFF–ON” benzimidazole-based chemosensor ensemble

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
04 Jan 2020
Accepted
17 Mar 2020
First published
17 Mar 2020

Dalton Trans., 2020, Advance Article
Article type
Paper

Selective detection of sulfide in human lung cancer cells with a blue-fluorescent “ON–OFF–ON” benzimidazole-based chemosensor ensemble

C. Kwan, T. Wang, S. Chan, Z. Cai and K. C. Leung, Dalton Trans., 2020, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/D0DT00031K

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