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Core‐Alkynylated Fluorescent Flippers: Altered Ultrafast Photophysics to Track Thick Membranes

Published inAngewandte Chemie, e202406204
Publication date2024-05-17
First online date2024-05-17
Abstract

Fluorescent flippers have been introduced as small‐molecule probes to image membrane tension in living systems. This study describes the design, synthesis, spectroscopic and imaging properties of flippers that are elongated by one and two alkynes inserted between the push and the pull dithienothiophene domains. The resulting mechanophores combine characteristics of flippers, reporting on physical compression in the ground state, and molecular rotors, reporting on torsional motion in the excited state, to take their photophysics to new level of sophistication. Intensity ratios in broadened excitation bands from differently twisted conformers of core‐alkynylated flippers thus report on mechanical compression. Lifetime boosts from ultrafast excited‐state planarization and lifetime drops from competitive intersystem crossing into triplet states report on viscosity. In standard lipid bilayer membranes, core‐alkynylated flippers are too long for one leaflet and tilt or extend into disordered interleaflet space, which preserves rotor‐like torsional disorder and thus weak, blue‐shifted fluorescence. Flipper‐like planarization occurs only in highly ordered membranes of matching leaflet thickness, where they light up and selectively report on these thick membranes with red‐shifted, sharpened excitation maxima, high intensity and long lifetime.

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Keywords
  • Fluorescent probes
  • Hydrophobic matching
  • Lipid bilayer membranes
  • Mechanosensitive probes
  • Planarizable push-pull probes
Citation (ISO format)
PAMUNGKAS, Krisna et al. Core‐Alkynylated Fluorescent Flippers: Altered Ultrafast Photophysics to Track Thick Membranes. In: Angewandte Chemie, 2024, p. e202406204. doi: 10.1002/anie.202406204
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Article (Accepted version)
accessLevelRestrictedaccessLevelPublic 05/18/2025
Article (Published version)
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ISSN of the journal1433-7851
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