Our research interest on bioimaging has focused recently on developing fluorescent probes capable of quantitative analysis for Mn2+. Such probes allow real-time imaging with subcellular resolution. Manganese is an essential metal in biological systems, however, it has proven to be very challenging to assay using fluorescent probes. One challenge is the interference from Ca2+, which is abundant in cell (up to high μM) and shares many properties with Mn2+. The other challenge is the false positive caused by accumulation of probes.
We developed an “off-on” fluorescent probe for Mn2+ that discriminates Mn2+ and Ca2+, however, the second challenge remains unsolved. To address the false positive problem, we are currently working on ratiometric fluorescent probe for Mn2+.