Intracellular pH is a critical parameter involved in cell machinery, and its dysregulation can either cause or signal pathologic states. Currently described fluorescent pH probes are based on single acid-base equilibria, and for this reason are intrinsically unable to capture the wide range of cell pH, usually spanning over more than four units. Here we describe a fluorescent pH biosensor based on a conjugated coumarin-triazine scaffold that is excitable in the visible range, shows pseudo-linear ratiometric response over more than 6 pH units with a single fluorogenic unit, and allows imaging of the whole endo-lysosomal pH landscape of living cells with a single acquisition. The probe can discriminate, on the basis of intracellular acidity, between physiologic and tumor cells, being potentially suitable in perspective as diagnostic tool.
Keywords: Coumarin; Fluorescent probes; Ratiometric imaging; Triazines; pH sensing.
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