Remarkable Enhancement of Chemiluminescent Signal by Dioxetane-Fluorophore Conjugates: Turn-ON Chemiluminescence Probes with Color Modulation for Sensing and Imaging

J Am Chem Soc. 2016 Oct 12;138(40):13438-13446. doi: 10.1021/jacs.6b09173. Epub 2016 Sep 29.


Chemiluminescence is among the most sensitive methods for achieving a high signal-to-noise ratio in various chemical and biological applications. We have developed a modular practical synthetic route for preparation of turn-ON fluorophore-tethered dioxetane chemiluminescent probes. The chemiluminescent emission of the probes was significantly amplified through an energy-transfer mechanism under physiological conditions. Two probes were composed with green and near-infrared (NIR) fluorescent dyes tethered to Schaap's dioxetane. While both probes were able to provide chemiluminescence in vivo images following subcutaneous injection, only the NIR probe could provide a chemiluminescence image following intraperitoneal injection. These are the first in vivo images produced by Schaap's dioxetane chemiluminescence probes with no need of an enhancer. Previously, chemiluminescence cell images could only be obtained with a luciferin-based probe. Our NIR probe was able to image cells transfected with β-galactosidase gene by chemiluminescence microscopy. We also report, for the first time, the instability of dioxetane-fluorophore conjugates to ambient light. Our synthetic route effectively overcomes this limitation through a late-stage functionalization of the dioxetane intermediate. We anticipate that our practical synthetic methodology will be useful for preparation of various chemiluminescent probes for numerous applications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't