A Facile Approach towards Fluorescent Nanogels with AIE-Active Spacers.
ABSTRACT: A facile and efficient approach for design and synthesis of organic fluorescent nanogels has been developed by using a pre-synthesized polymeric precursor. This strategy is achieved by two key steps: (i) precise synthesis of core?shell star-shaped block copolymers with crosslinkable AIEgen-precursor (AIEgen: aggregation induced emission luminogen) as pending groups on the inner blocks; (ii) gelation of the inner blocks by coupling the AIEgen-precursor moieties to generate AIE-active spacers, and thus, fluorescent nanogel. By using this strategy, a series of star-shaped block copolymers with benzophenone groups pending on the inner blocks were synthesized by grafting from a hexafunctional initiator through atom transfer radical copolymerization (ATRP) of 4-benzoylphenyl methacrylate (BPMA) or 2-(4-benzoylphenoxy)ethyl methacrylate (BPOEMA) with methyl methacrylate (MMA) and tert-butyldimethylsilyl-protected 2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate (ProHEMA) followed by a sequential ATRP to grow PMMA or PProHEMA. The pendent benzophenone groups were coupled by McMurry reaction to generate tetraphenylethylene (TPE) groups which served as AIE-active spacers, affording a fluorescent nanogel. The nanogel showed strong emission not only at aggregated state but also in dilute solution due to the strongly restricted inter- and intramolecular movement of TPE moiety in the crosslinked polymeric network. The nanogel has been used as a fluorescent macromolecular additive to fabricate fluorescent film.
Project description:Articulated structures of naphthalene-based donor (D)-acceptor (A) type dipolar dye and aggregation-induced emission luminogen (AIEgen) based on tetraphenylethylene (TPE) were synthesized, and their photophysical properties were analyzed for the first time. There are many fluorophore backbones, which have dipolar structure and AIEgen. However, there has been neither property analysis nor research that closely articulates DA and AIE through non-conjugation linker. We have therefore prepared two representative fluorophores; DA-AIE series (DA-AIE-M and DA-AIE-D), and characterized their UV/vis absorption and emission properties with quantum chemical calculations. In addition, we utilized the unique photophysical properties of DA-AIE-D for monitoring a trace of dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) in aqueous media, including real water samples.
Project description:Multiphoton microscopy is an exciting tool for biomedical research because it can be used to image single cells <i>in vivo</i> due to its greater penetration depth, lower phototoxicity and higher resolution when compared to confocal laser scanning microscopy. This helps researchers understand how certain cells change over time and evaluate the efficacy of different therapies. Herein, we report a new AIE luminogen (AIEgen), abbreviated as TPE-TETRAD, with a favorable absorption and efficient deep-red emission in the solid state. TPE-TETRAD possesses a high two-photon absorption cross-section (313 MG at 830 nm) and a rich array of non-linear optical properties including aggregation-induced three-photon luminescence. Biotinylated TPE-TETRAD nanoparticles are also fabricated and applied to stain mitochondria in live cancer cells with high specificity. The purpose of this study is to characterize a novel deep-red AIEgen and fabricate biotinylated nanoparticles for applications as (1) biocompatible and photostable AIE probes for specific mitochondria imaging and (2) multiphoton imaging probes suitable for two/three-photon fluorescence microscopy.
Project description:Cancer is the leading cause of death worldwide. With the advantages of low cost, high sensitivity and ease of accessibility, fluorescence imaging has been widely used for cancer detection in the scientific field. Aggregation-induced emission luminogens (AIEgens) are a class of synthesized fluorescent probes with high brightness and photostability in the aggregate state. Herein, a new positively-charged AIEgen, abbreviated as TPE-IQ-2O, is designed and characterized. TPE-IQ-2O not only can distinguish cancer cells from normal cells with high contrast with the aid of the difference in mitochondrial membrane potential as well as the quantity of mitochondria, but it also works as a promising photosensitizer to kill cancer cells through generation of reactive oxygen species upon white light irradiation, thus making it a promising AIE theranostic system.
Project description:Lysosomes are involved in a multitude of cellular processes and their dysfunction is associated with various diseases. They are the most acidic organelles (pH 3.8-6.6, size 0.1-1.2 ?m) with the highest viscosity (47-190 cP at 25 °C) in the cell. Because of their acidity, pH dependent non-AIE active fluorescent lysosomal probes have been developed that rely on protonation inhibited photoinduced electron transfer (PET). In this work, an acidic pH independent lysosome targetable piperazine-TPE (PIP-TPE) AIEgen has been designed with unique photophysical properties making it a suitable probe for quantifying viscosity. In a non-aggregated state PIP-TPE shows deep-blue emission as opposed to its yellowish-green emission in the bulk. It possesses high specificity for lysosomes with negligible cytotoxicity and good tracing ability due to its better photostability compared to LysoTracker Red. In contrast to most known lysosome probes that rely solely on PET, restriction of intramolecular motion (RIM) due to the larger viscosity inside the lysosomes is the mechanism responsible for PIP-TPE's fluorescence. PIP-TPE's high selectivity is attributed to its unique molecular design that features piperazine fragments providing a perfect balance between lipophilicity and polarity.
Project description:Fluorescent probes are one of the most popularly used bioimaging markers to monitor metabolic processes of living cells. However, long-term light excitation always leads to photobleaching of fluorescent probes, unavoidable autofluorescence as well as photodamage of cells. To overcome these limitations, we synthesized a type of photostable luminogen named TPE-TPP with an aggregation induced emission (AIE) characteristic, and achieved its three-photon imaging with femtosecond laser excitation of 1020?nm. By using TPE-TPP as fluorescent probes, three-photon microscopy under 1020?nm excitation showed little photo-damage, as well as low autofluorescence to HeLa cells. Due to the AIE effect, the TPE-TPP nanoaggregates uptaken by cells were resistant to photobleaching under three-photon excitation for an extended period of time. Furthermore, we demonstrated that for the present TPE-TPP AIE the three-photon microscopy (with 1020?nm excitation) had a better signal to noise ratio than the two-photon microscopy (with 810?nm excitation) in tissue imaging.
Project description:The synthesis of water-soluble near-infrared (NIR)-emissive fluorescent molecules with aggregation-induced emission (AIE) characteristics and theranostic functions is highly desirable but remains challenging. In this work, we designed and readily prepared for the first time such a molecule with AIE features, good water-solubility and intense emission in the NIR region. This AIE luminogen (AIEgen) is able to specifically "light up" the cell membrane without the involvement of a washing procedure. Interestingly, the staining process can be performed by simply shaking the culture with cells at room temperature for only a few seconds after the addition of the AIEgen, indicating an ultrafast and easy-to-operate staining protocol. This is the first fluorescent "light-up" probe for cell-imaging that allows the combination of a short staining period (at the second-level) with a wash-free process. Additionally, the presented AIEgen has also been developed to serve as an excellent phototherapeutic agent for high efficiency generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) upon visible light irradiation, which allows its effective application in the photodynamic ablation of cancer cells, demonstrating its dual role as an imaging and phototherapeutic agent.
Project description:Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) plays a key role in the progression of human illnesses, such as autoimmune and auto-inflammatory diseases, infectious diseases, diabetes, and cancer, etc. In this work, we have discribed a novel probe, TPE-TLE, which remarkably displayed AIE property and ratiometric fluorescence emission profiles in the presence of H2O2. This ratiometric fluorescent probe with AIE property exhibits outstanding features such as the well-resolved emission peaks, high sensitivity, high selectivity, low cytotoxicity, and good cell-membrane permeability. These excellent attributes enable us to demonstrate the ratiometric imaging of endogenously produced H2O2 in macrophages and cancer cells based on the novel ratiometric probe with AIE property for the first time. By comparing two kinds of cells, it is firstly found that cancer cells should contain much more endogenous H2O2 than macrophages. We expect that TPE-TLE will be useful fluorescent platform for the development of a variety of ratiometric fluorescent probes with AIE property to achieve unique biological applications.
Project description:Photosensitizers are generally treated as key components for photodynamic therapy. In contrast, we herein report an aggregation-induced emission luminogen (AIEgen)-based photosensitizer (TPE-Py-FFGYSA) that can serve as a non-toxic adjuvant to amplify the antitumor efficacy of paclitaxel, a well-known anticancer drug, with a synergistic effect of "0 + 1 > 1". Besides the adjuvant function, TPE-Py-FFGYSA can selectively light up EphA2 protein clusters overexpressed in cancer cells in a fluorescence turn-on mode, by taking advantage of the specific YSA peptide (YSAYPDSVPMMS)-EphA2 protein interaction. The simple incorporation of FFG as a self-assembly-aided unit between AIEgen (TPE-Py) and YSA significantly enhances the fluorescent signal output of TPE-Py when imaging EphA2 clusters in live cancer cells. Cytotoxicity and western blot studies reveal that the reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated by TPE-Py-FFGYSA upon exposure to light do not kill cancer cells, but instead provide an intracellular oxidative environment to help paclitaxel have much better efficacy. This study thus not only extends the application scope of photosensitizers, but also offers a unique theranostic system with the combination of diagnostic imaging and adjuvant antitumor therapy.
Project description:Aggregation-induced emission (AIE) can be generated due to the restriction of intramolecular motions. The controllable assembly of fluorogens with AIE properties (AIEgens) is able to provide a new opportunity for precise manipulation of fluorescent signal transduction. Here, a tetrapod DNA quadruplex (TP-G4) was designed as a molecular scaffold for assembly and precise modulation of light emission of an oligonucleotide-grafted fluorogen with aggregation-induced emission (Oligo-AIEgen). The Oligo-AIEgen was synthesized by attaching the AIEgen to the 3'-terminus of the oligonucleotide through a dibenzylcyclooctyne mediated coupling reaction. The AIEgen emitted no detectable fluorescence in the context of a double-stranded structure. When hybridized to the parallel-stranded TP-G4, several AIEgens were located in close proximity to generate fluorescence. The fluorescence intensity has been precisely regulated by manipulation of the spacer length between the core structure of the scaffold and AIEgen, as well as by altering the quartet number of the G-quadruplex. Similar control of fluorescence was also demonstrated using tetramolecular and bimolecular i-motif quadruplex structures as the scaffolds. These scaffolds provide a proof of concept on the manipulation of molecular interactions, which forms a universal molecular tool for the design of new biosensing strategies.
Project description:In neuroscience, fluorescence labeled two-photon microscopy is a promising tool to visualize ex vivo and in vivo tissue morphology, and track dynamic neural activities. Specific and highly photostable fluorescent probes are required in this technology. However, most fluorescent proteins and organic fluorophores suffer from photobleaching, so they are not suitable for long-term imaging and observation. To overcome this problem, we utilize tetraphenylethene-triphenylphosphonium (TPE-TPP), which possesses aggregation-induced emission (AIE) and two-photon fluorescence characteristics, for neuroimaging. The unique AIE feature of TPE-TPP makes its nanoaggregates resistant to photobleaching, which is useful to track neural cells and brain-microglia for a long period of time. Two-photon fluorescence of TPE-TPP facilitates its application in deep in vivo neuroimaging, as demonstrated in the present paper.