Development of a ruthenium(II) complex-based luminescent probe for hypochlorous acid in living cells

Run Zhang, Zhiqiang Ye*, Bo Song, Zhichao Dai, Xin An, Jingli Yuan

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    77 Citations (Scopus)


    A novel Ru(II) complex, [Ru(bpy)2(DNPS-bpy)](PF 6)2 (bpy: 2,2′-bipyridine, DNPS-bpy: 4-(2,4-dinitrophenylthio)methylene-4′-methyl-2,2′-bipyridine), has been designed and synthesized as a highly sensitive and selective luminescence probe for the recognition and detection of hypochlorous acid (HOCl) in living cells by exploiting a "signaling moiety-recognition linker-quencher" sandwich approach. The complex possesses large stokes shift (170 nm), long emission wavelength (626 nm), and low cytotoxicity. Owing to the effective photoinduced electron transfer (PET) from Ru(II) center to the electron acceptor, 2,4-dinitrophenyl (DNP), the red-emission of bipyridine-Ru(II) complex was completely withheld. In aqueous media, HOCl can trigger an oxidation reaction to cleave the DNP moiety from the Ru(II) complex, which results in the formation of a highly luminescent bipyridine-Ru(II) complex derivative, [Ru(bpy)2(COOH-bpy)](PF6)2 (COOH-bpy: 4′-methyl-2,2′-bipyridyl-4-carboxylic acid), accompanied by a 190-fold luminescence enhancement. Cell imaging experimental results demonstrated that [Ru(bpy)2(DNPS-bpy)](PF6)2 is membrane permeable, and can be applied for capturing and visualizing the exogenous/endogenous HOCl molecules in living cell samples. The development of this Ru(II) complex probe not only provides a useful tool for monitoring HOCl in living systems, but also strengthens the application of transition metal complex-based luminescent probes for bioimaging.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)10325-10331
    Number of pages7
    JournalInorganic Chemistry
    Issue number18
    Publication statusPublished - 16 Sept 2013


    Dive into the research topics of 'Development of a ruthenium(II) complex-based luminescent probe for hypochlorous acid in living cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this