Visualizing changes in mitochondrial Mg2+ during apoptosis with organelle-targeted triazole-based ratiometric fluorescent sensors

G. Zhang, J. J. Gruskos, M. S. Afzal, D. Buccella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Magnesium is one of the most abundant metals in cells and is essential for a wide range of cellular processes. Magnesium imbalance has been linked to a variety of diseases, but the scarcity of sensors suitable for detection of Mg2+ with subcellular resolution has hampered the study of compartmentalization and mobilization of this ion in the context of physiological and pathological processes. We report herein a family of fluorescent probes for targeted detection of free Mg2+ in specific intracellular organelles, and its application in the study of programmed cell death. The new sensors feature a triazole unit that plays both structural and electronic roles by serving as an attachment group for targeting moieties, and modulating a possible internal charge transfer process for ratiometric ion sensing. A probe decorated with an alkylphosphonium group was employed for the detection of mitochondrial Mg2+ in live HeLa cells, providing the first direct observation of an increase in free Mg2+ levels in this organelle in the early stages of Staurosporine-induced apoptosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6841-6846
Number of pages6
JournalChemical Science
Issue number12
StatePublished - Oct 28 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)


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