Membrane permeable luminescent metal complexes for cellular imaging

in: SPIE Proceedings (2012)
Neugebauer, Ute; Cosgrave, Lynda; Pellegrin, Yann; Devocelle, Marc; Forster, Robert J.; Keyes, Tia E.
The spectroscopic and photophysical properties of ruthenium polypyridyl polypeptide conjugates of the type [Ru(bpy)2PIC-Argn]n+2+, where bpy is 2,2-bipyridyl (bpy), PIC is 2-(4-carboxyphenyl)imidazo[4,5-f][1,10]phenanthroline and PIC-Argn is this ligand peptide bonded to polyarginine where n is 5 or 8, is described. The resonance Raman spectroscopy of the peptide conjugated complex and parent are strongly pH dependent and demonstrate a switch of lowest energy charge transfer transition between bpy and pic ligands as s function of pH. The pKa of the imidazole ring on the complex is obtained from resonance Raman spectroscopy as 7.8 ± 0.2. The luminescence lifetime of the complex is strongly oxygen dependent and a Stern-Volmer plot of O2 quenching for [Ru(bpy)2(PIC-Arg8)]10+ yielded a KSV value of 2300 ± 420 M-1 which was independent of pH over the range 2 to 11. The complexes, because of their large Stokes shifts can, uniquely, be used under identical conditions of probe concentration and excitation wavelength for resonance Raman and luminescence cellular imaging. Cellular imaging was conducted using SP2 myeloma cells which confirmed that the [Ru(bpy)2(PIC-Arg8)]10+ is readily taken up by mammalian cells although the parent and pentarginine analogues are not membrane permeable. Preliminary examples of multi-parameter imaging using these probes were presented. Resonance Raman maps of [Ru(bpy)2(PIC-Arg8)]10+ within living myeloma cells showed on the basis of spectral discrimination, attributed to pH, three distinct regions of the cell could be identified, ascribed to the nucleus, the cytoplasm and the membranes. Luminescence lifetime imaging showed quite large variations in the probe lifetime within the living cell which was tentatively ascribed to variation in O2 concentration about the cell. Preliminary estimates of O2 concentration were made and it was found that the membranes, both inner and outer are the most O2 rich regions of the cell. Overall, we propose that such peptide labeled luminescent metal are potentially a valuable addition to cellular imaging by providing tools for multiplexed analysis of the cell environment.

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