Construction of an alkaline phosphatase-specific two-photon probe and its imaging application in living cells and tissues

Huatang Zhang, Peng Xiao, Yin Ting Wong, Wei Shen, Mohit Chhabra, Raoul Peltier, Yin Jiang, Yonghe He, Jun He, Yi Tan, Yusheng Xie, Derek Ho, Yun Wah Lam, Jinpeng Sun, Hongyan Sun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)


Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) is a family of enzymes involved in the regulation of important biological processes such as cell differentiation and bone mineralization. Monitoring the activity of ALP in serum can help diagnose a variety of diseases including bone and liver diseases. There has been growing interest in developing new chemical tools for monitoring ALP activity in living systems. Such tools will help further delineate the roles of ALP in biological and pathological processes. Previously reported fluorescent probes has a number of disadvantages that limit their application, such as poor selectivity and short-wavelength excitation. In this work, we report a new two-photon fluorescent probe (TP-Phos) to selectively detect ALP activity. The probe is composed of a two-photon fluorophore, a phosphate recognition moiety, and a self-cleavable adaptor. It offers a number of advantages over previously reported probes, such as fast reaction kinetics, high sensitivity and low cytotoxicity. Experimental results also showed that TP-Phos displayed improved selectivity over DIFMUP, a commonly utilized ALP probe. The selectivity is attributed to the utilization of an ortho-functionalised phenyl phosphate group, which increases the steric hindrance of the probe and the active site of phosphatases. Moreover, the two-photon nature of the probe confers enhanced imaging properties such as increased penetration depth and lower tissue autofluorescence. TP-Phos was successfully used to image the endogenous ALP activity of hippocampus, kidney and liver tissues from rat.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)220-229
Number of pages10
Early online date27 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2017
Externally publishedYes

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