A turn-on fluorescent nanoprobe (named AAP-1), based on an aggregation-induced emission luminogen (AIEgen), is disclosed for the detection of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is an essential element in the biological system. Organic fluorophore (named TPE-TA) consists of tetraphenylethylene (TPE, sensing and signaling moiety) and mono-triamine (TA, sensing moiety), and it forms an aggregated form in aqueous media as a nanoprobe AAP-1. The nanoprobe AAP-1 has multiple electrostatic interactions as well as hydrophobic interactions with ATP, and it displays superior selectivity toward ATP, reliable sensitivity, with a detection limit around 0.275 ppb, and fast responsive (signal within 10 s). Such a fluorescent probe to monitor ATP has been actively pursued throughout fundamental and translational research areas. In vitro assay and a successful cellular ATP imaging application was demonstrated in cancer cells and embryonic stem cells. We expect that our work warrants further ATP-related studies throughout a variety of fields.
- Adenosine triphosphate (ATP)
- Aggregation-induced emission (AIE)
- Cellular imaging
- Fluorescent probes