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A Ratiometric Fluorescent Probe Based on FRET for Imaging Hg2+ Ions in Living Cells


  • We thank the NSF of China (Nos. 20406004, 20572012, 20536010) and the Program for Changjiang Scholars and Innovative Research Team in University (IRT0711) for financial support. We also thank Dr. Liji Jin and Xueliang Niu (Dalian University of Technology) for help with cell culture experiments.


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Mercury rising: A FRET-based ratiometric probe (see picture; FRET=fluorescence resonance energy transfer) can selectively detect Hg2+ ions on the parts-per-billion scale under physiological conditions. The probe undergoes a clear Hg2+-induced change in the intensity ratio of the two well-separated and equally intense emission bands of dipyrrometheneboron difluoride and rhodamine. Experiments show that the probe can be used in living cells.