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Turning on Light Emission of a Dark Pro-AIEgen in Aqueous Media through Reductase-Modulated Derotation

submitted on 13.11.2020, 07:47 and posted on 16.11.2020, 07:39 by Changhuo Xu, hang zou, zheng zhao, Zheng Zheng, Ryan Tsz Kin Kwok, Jacky W. Y. Lam, Herman H.-Y. Sung, ian duncan williams, Lei Zheng, Ben Zhong Tang
The development of dark pro-AIEgens based on solid-state intramolecular motion-caused quenching effect has been rarely reported in biochemical analysis. Herein, an azo-conjugated pro-AIEgen derived from tetraphenylethene is constructed. Owing to the active photoisomerization of the azo bond, it retains a non-emissive property in both solution and solid forms. The obtained pro-AIEgen can be internalized by living cells and undergo reductase-modulated derotation under hypoxia to emit the light. It shows increasing fluorescence when intracellular oxygen concentration becomes lower, making it a potential probe to sense the hypoxic environment. The present probe can also visualize the hypoxic environment created by photodynamic therapy treatment.


the National Science Foundation of China (21788102), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81871735), the Research Grants of Council of Hong Kong (16305518, 16305618, N_HKUST609/19 and C6009-17G), the Innovation of Technology Commission (ITC-CNERC14SC01), and the Ming Wai Lau Centre for Reparative Medicine Associate Member Programme (No. MWLC19SC02).


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The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology


Hong Kong, China

ORCID For Submitting Author


Declaration of Conflict of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.