Development of a zinc ion-selective luminescent lanthanide chemosensor for biological applications

Kenjiro Hanaoka, Kazuya Kikuchi, Hirotatsu Kojima, Yasuteru Urano, Tetsuo Nagano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

389 Citations (Scopus)


Detection of chelatable zinc (Zn2+) in biological studies has attracted much attention recently, because chelatable Zn2+ plays important roles in many biological systems. Lanthanide complexes (Eu 3+, Tb3+, etc.) have excellent spectroscopic properties for biological applications, such as long luminescence lifetimes of the order of milliseconds, a large Stoke's shift of >200 nm, and high water solubility. Herein, we present the design and synthesis of a novel lanthanide sensor molecule, [Eu-7], for detecting Zn2+. This europium (Eu3+) complex employs a quinolyl ligand as both a chromophore and an acceptor for Zn2+. Upon addition of Zn2+ to a solution of [Eu-7], the luminescence of Eu3+ is strongly enhanced, with high selectivity for Zn2+ over other biologically relevant metal cations. One of the important advantages of [Eu-7] is that this complex can be excited with longer excitation wavelengths (around 340 nm) as compared with previously reported Zn2+-sensitive luminescent lamthanide sensors, whose excitation wavelength is at too high an energy level for biological applications. The usefulness of [Eu-7] for monitoring Zn2+ changes in living HeLa cells was confirmed. This novel Zn2+-selective luminescent lanthanide chemosensor [Eu-7] should be an excellent lead compound for the development of a range of novel luminescent lanthanide chemosensors for biological applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12470-12476
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number39
Publication statusPublished - 2004 Oct 6
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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