Light emission enhancement by supramolecular complexation of chemiluminescence probes designed for bioimaging

Chem Sci. 2019 Jan 16;10(10):2945-2955. doi: 10.1039/c8sc05174g. eCollection 2019 Mar 14.


Chemiluminescence offers advantages over fluorescence for bioimaging, since an external light source is unnecessary with chemiluminescent agents. This report demonstrates the first encapsulation of chemiluminescence phenoxy-adamantyl-1,2-dioxetane probes with trimethyl β-cyclodextrin. Clear proof for the formation of a 1 : 1 host-guest complex between the adamantyl-1,2-dioxetane probe and trimethyl β-cyclodextrin was provided by mass spectroscopy and NMR experiments. The calculated association constant of this host-guest system, 253 M-1, indicates the formation of a stable inclusion complex. The inclusion complex significantly amplified the light emission intensity relative to the noncomplexed probe under physiological conditions. Complexation of adamantyl-dioxetane with fluorogenic dye-tethered cyclodextrin resulted in light emission through energy transfer to a wavelength that corresponds to the fluorescent emission of the conjugated dye. Remarkably, the light emission intensity of this inclusion complex was approximately 1500-fold higher than that of the non-complexed adamantyl-dioxetane guest. We present the first demonstration of microscopic cell images obtained using a chemiluminescence supramolecular dioxetane probe and demonstrate the utility of these supramolecular complexes by imaging of enzymatic activity and bio-analytes in vitro and in vivo. We anticipate that the described chemiluminescence supramolecular dioxetane probes will find use in various biological applications.