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Target-Activated Modulation of Dual-Color and Two-Photon Fluorescence of Graphene Quantum Dots for in Vivo Imaging of Hydrogen Peroxide

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posted on 2016-04-13, 00:00 authored by Wenjie Zhao, Yinhui Li, Sheng Yang, Yun Chen, Jing Zheng, Changhui Liu, Zhihe Qing, Jishan Li, Ronghua Yang
The development of nanoprobes suitable for two-photon microscopy techniques is highly desirable for mapping biological species in living systems. However, at the current stage, the nanoprobes are restricted to single-color fluorescence changes, making it unsuitable for quantitative detection. To circumvent this problem, we report here a rational design of a dual-emission and two-photon (TP) graphene quantum dot (GQD420) probe for imaging of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). For specific recognition of H2O2 and lighting the fluorescence of TPGQD420, a boronate ester-functionalized merocyanine (BMC) fluorophore was used as both target-activated trigger and the dual-emission fluorescence modulator. Upon two-photon excitation at 740 nm, TPGQD420–BMC displays a green-to-blue resolved emission band in response to H2O2 with an emission shift of 110 nm, and the H2O2 can be determined from 0.2 to 40 μM with a detection limit of 0.05 μM. Moreover, the fluorescence response of the TPGQD420–BMC toward H2O2 is rapid and extremely specific. The feasibility of the proposed method is demonstrated by two-photon ratiometrically mapping the production of endogenous H2O2 in living cells as well as in deep tissues of murine mode at 0–600 μm. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first paradigm to rationally design a dual-emission and two-photon nanoprobe via fluorescence modulation of GQDs with switchable molecules, which will extend new possibility to design powerful molecular tools for in vivo bioimaging applications.

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