We describe the design, synthesis and characterization of five high Stokes shift quadrupolar heteroaryl compounds suitable as fluorescent probes in bio-imaging. In particular, we characterize the photophysical properties and the intracellular localization in Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells (HUVEC) and Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells (HMSCs) for each dye. We show that, amongst all of the investigated derivatives, the 2,5-bis[1-(4-N-methylpyridinium)ethen-2-yl)]- N-methylpyrrole salt is the best candidates as selective mitochondrial tracker. Finally, we recorded the full emission spectrum of the most performing - exclusively mitochondrial selective - fluorescent probe directly from HUVEC stained cells. The emission spectrum collected from the stained mitochondria shows a remarkably more pronounced vibronic structure with respect to the emission of the free fluorophore in solution.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.