A highly selective fluorescent anthracene-based chemosensor for imaging Zn2+ in living cells and zebrafish

Minh Hai Nguyen*, Thi Nguyet Nguyen, Danh Quang Do, Hung Huy Nguyen, Quan Manh Phung, Natesan Thirumalaivasan, Shu Pao Wu, Thi Hien Dinh*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


A new fluorescent chemosensor (An3) bearing anthracenyl rings was designed and developed for detection of Zn2+. Addition of Zn2+ into An3 gave rise to a fluorescent turn-on response at 424 nm whereas Al3+, Cd2+, Co2+, Cu2+, K+, Mg2+, Zn2+, Ca2+, Fe3+, Mn2+, Ni2+, Pb2+, and Hg2+ did not induce any emission intensity enhancement. Furthermore, the probe exhibited high selectivity toward Zn2+ and a very low detection limit (36 nM) based on chelation-enhanced fluorescence. Theoretical calculations revealed the possible formation of 1:1 and 1:2 complexes between An3 and Zn2+. In bioimaging experiments, the chemosensor displayed low cytotoxicity and good biocompatibility, rendering it an effective tool for fluorescent visualization of Zn2+ in living cells and zebrafish models.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107882
JournalInorganic Chemistry Communications
StatePublished - May 2020


  • Anthracene
  • Cell imaging
  • Fluorescent sensing
  • Theoretical calculations
  • Zebrafish
  • Zinc

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