CHEMISTRY: Making Zinc Glow

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Science  24 Sep 2004:
Vol. 305, Issue 5692, pp. 1875d
DOI: 10.1126/science.305.5692.1875d

Zinc cations are abundant in biological systems and contribute to both the structure and function of proteins. Hanaoka et al. have developed a europium-based luminescent sensor that can be used to image Zn2+ ions in intact cells. The Eu3+ coordination compound bears a quinoline antenna that absorbs at 340 nm in the near-ultraviolet region, leading to visible emission at the Eu center on a ms scale. A bis-(2-pyridylmethyl) aminomethyl group appended to the quinoline can bind Zn2+ ions and thereby induce an eight-fold enhancement in luminescence. The principal advantage of this sensor over previous systems is the use of a relatively long excitation wavelength, which reduces damage to biomolecules. The sensor is also water soluble, and it works equally well across a broad pH range (3.6 to 8.8) and in the presence of a greater than 1000-fold excess of sodium and potassium salts. — JSY

J. Am. Chem. Soc. 10.1021/ja0469333 (2004).

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