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Visualizing Semipermeability of Cell Membrane by a pH-responsive Ratiometric AIEgen

submitted on 14.04.2020, 09:01 and posted on 20.04.2020, 10:13 by Yuan Gu, zheng zhao, Guangle Niu, Han Zhang, Yiming Wang, Ryan Tsz Kin Kwok, Jacky W. Y. Lam, Ben Zhong Tang

In clinical chemotherapy, some basic drugs cannot enter the hydrophobic cell membrane because of ionization in acidic tumor microenvironment, a phenomenon known as ion trapping. In this study, we developed a method to visualize this ion trapping phenomenon by utilizing a pH-responsive ratiometric AIEgen, dihydro berberine (dhBBR). By observing the intracellular fluorescence of dhBBR, we found that non-ionized dhBBR can enter cells easier than ionized forms, which is in accordance with the concept of ion trapping. In addition, dhBBR shows superior anti-photobleaching ability than Curcumin thanks to its AIE property. These results suggest that dhBBR can serve as a bioprobe for ion trapping.


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