A Highly Selective Mitochondria-Targeting Fluorescent K+ Sensor

Xiangxing Kong, Fengyu Su, Liqiang Zhang, Jordan Yaron, Fred Lee, Zhengwei Shi, Yanqing Tian, Deirdre Meldrum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


Regulation of intracellular potassium (K+) concentration plays a key role in metabolic processes. So far, only a few intracellular K+ sensors have been developed. The highly selective fluorescent K+ sensor KS6 for monitoring K+ ion dynamics in mitochondria was produced by coupling triphenylphosphonium, borondipyrromethene (BODIPY), and triazacryptand (TAC). KS6 shows a good response to K+ in the range 30-500 mM, a large dynamic range (Fmax/F0≈130), high brightness (φf=14.4 % at 150 mM of K+), and insensitivity to both pH in the range 5.5-9.0 and other metal ions under physiological conditions. Colocalization tests of KS6 with MitoTracker Green confirmed its predominant localization in the mitochondria of HeLa and U87MG cells. K+ efflux/influx in the mitochondria was observed upon stimulation with ionophores, nigericin, or ionomycin. KS6 is thus a highly selective semiquantitative K+ sensor suitable for the study of mitochondrial potassium flux in live cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12053-12057
Number of pages5
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Issue number41
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015


  • fluorescent probes
  • ion channels
  • mitochondria
  • potassium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)


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