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Synthesis and evaluation of europium complexes that switch on luminescence in lysosomes of living cells.

Starck, Matthieu and Fradgley, Jack D. and Pal, Robert and Zwier, Jurriaan M. and Lamarque, Laurent and Parker, David (2021) 'Synthesis and evaluation of europium complexes that switch on luminescence in lysosomes of living cells.', Chemistry – a European journal., 27 (2). pp. 766-777.


A set of four luminescent Eu(III) complexes bearing an extended aryl‐alkynylpyridine chromophore has been studied, showing very different pH‐dependent behaviour in their absorption and emission spectral response. For two complexes with p K a values of 6.45 and 6.20 in protein containing solution, the emission lifetime increases very significantly following protonation. By varying the gate time during signal acquisition, the ‘switch‐on’ intensity ratio could be optimised and enhancement factors of between 250 to 1330 were measured between pH 8 and 4. The best behaved probe showed no dependence on the concentration of common endogenous cations, selected reductants and serum albumin and was examined in live cell imaging studies and used to monitor time‐dependent lysosomal acidification, for which the increase in observed image brightness due to acidification was found to be a factor of 50 in NIH‐3T3 cells.

Item Type:Article
Full text:Publisher-imposed embargo
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Date accepted:11 November 2020
Date deposited:17 November 2020
Date of first online publication:15 December 2020
Date first made open access:02 March 2021

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