Fluorescence Probe with a pH-Sensitive Trigger

Acid-catalyzed hydrolysis was used as the mechanism to design a new type of environmentally sensitive fluorescence probe. A mild and selective periodate oxidation of the 2-amino alcohol of serine in the presence of a disulfide bond was developed to prepare dialdehyde peptides. Two identical fluorochrome hydrazide derivatives were then linked to the dialdehyde peptide forming an acid-labile hydrazone linkage. This self-quenched probe is weakly fluorescent at a physiological pH of 7.4 but shows more than 3-fold fluorescence enhancement at pH 4.5.