Nick, Jerome and Martin's paper is accepted for publication in JACS!
NitroxylFluor: A thiol-based fluorescent probe for live-cell imaging of nitroxyl (HNO)
Detection of nitroxyl (HNO), the transient one-electron reduced form of nitric oxide, is a significant challenge owing to its high reactivity with biological thiols (with rate constants as high as 109 1/M•s). To address this, we report a new thiol-based HNO-responsive trigger that can compete against reactive thiols for HNO. This process forms a common N-hydroxysulfenamide intermediate which cyclizes to release a masked fluorophore leading to fluorescence enhancement. To ensure that the cyclization step is rapid, our design capitalizes on two established physical organic phenomena; the alpha-effect and the Thorpe-Ingold effect. Using this new trigger we developed NitroxylFluor, a selective HNO-responsive fluorescent probe. Treatment of NitroxylFluor with an HNO donor results in a 16-fold turn-on. This probe also exhibits excellent selectivity over various reactive nitrogen, oxygen, and sulfur species and efficacy in the presence of thiols (e.g., glutathione in mM concentrations). Lastly, we successfully performed live cell imaging of HNO using NitroxylFluor.