1,8-Naphthalimide Derivative Dyes with Large Stokes Shifts for Targeting Live-Cell Mitochondria

Liqiang Zhang, Fengyu Su, Xiangxing Kong, Fred Lee, Steven Sher, Kevin Day, Yanqing Tian, Deirdre Meldrum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


An ideal fluorescent dye for staining cell organelles should have multiple properties including specificity, stability, biocompatibility, and a large Stokes shift. Tunable photophysical properties enable 1,8-naphthalimide to serve as an excellent fluorophore in biomedical applications. Many naphthalimide derivatives have been developed into drugs, sensors, and other dyes. In this study, a series of 1,8-naphthalimide derivatives targeting live cell mitochondria were synthesized. Among these probes, Mt-4 was characterized as the best one, with highly specific mitochondrial localization, low cytotoxicity, and a large Stokes shift. More importantly, Mt-4 stood out as a potential mitochondrial dye for living-cell experiments involving induced mitochondrial stress arising from the treatments because Mt-4 shows enhanced fluorescence in mitochondrial stress situations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1719-1724
Number of pages6
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 15 2016


  • Stokes shifts
  • fluorescent probes
  • imaging agents
  • mitochondria
  • naphthalimide
  • single live cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Organic Chemistry


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