Small-molecule fluorescent probes for imaging gaseous signaling molecules: current progress and future implications
Endogenous gaseous signaling molecules including nitric oxide (NO), carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrogen sulfide (H2S) have been demonstrated to perform significant physiological and pharmacological functions and are associated with various diseases in biological systems. In order to obtain a deeper insight into their roles and mechanisms of action, it is desirable to develop novel techniques for effectively detecting gaseous signaling molecules. Small-molecule fluorescent probes have been proven to be a powerful approach for the detection and imaging of biological messengers by virtue of their non-invasiveness, high selectivity, and real-time in situ detection capability. Based on the intrinsic properties of gaseous signaling molecules, numerous fluorescent probes have been constructed to satisfy various demands. In this perspective, we summarize the recent advances in the field of fluorescent probes for the detection of NO, CO and H2S and illustrate the design strategies and application examples of these probes. Moreover, we also emphasize the challenges and development directions of gasotransmitter-responsive fluorescent probes, hoping to provide a general implication for future research.