A selective turn-on fluorescent sensor for imaging copper in living cells

J Am Chem Soc. 2006 Jan 11;128(1):10-1. doi: 10.1021/ja055064u.


We present the synthesis, properties, and biological applications of Coppersensor-1 (CS1), a new water-soluble, turn-on fluorescent sensor for intracellular imaging of copper in living biological samples. CS1 utilizes a BODIPY reporter and thioether-rich receptor to provide high selectivity and sensitivity for Cu+ over other biologically relevant metal ions, including Cu2+, in aqueous solution. This BODIPY-based probe is the first Cu+-responsive sensor with visible excitation and emission profiles and gives a 10-fold turn-on response for detecting this ion. Confocal microscopy experiments further establish that CS1 is membrane-permeable and can successfully monitor intracellular Cu+ levels within living cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biosensing Techniques / methods*
  • Boron Compounds / chemistry
  • Cell Line
  • Copper / analysis*
  • Copper / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Optics and Photonics
  • Spectrometry, Fluorescence


  • 4,4-difluoro-4-bora-3a,4a-diaza-s-indacene
  • Boron Compounds
  • Copper