Light-up probes based on fluorogens with aggregation-induced emission characteristics for monoamine oxidase-A activity study in solution and in living cells

Wei Shen, Jiajun Yu, Jingyan Ge, Ruoyu Zhang, Feng Cheng, Xuefeng Li, Yong Fan, Shian Yu, Bin Liu, Qing Zhu

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29 Citations (Scopus)


Fluorogens with aggregation-induced emission (AIEgens) have emerged as a powerful and versatile platform for the development of novel biosensors. In this study, a series of water-soluble fluorescent probes based on tetraphenylethylene (TPE) were designed and synthesized for the detection of monoamine oxidases (MAOs) based on specific interactions between the probes and the proteins. Among the six probes developed, t-TPEM displays a significant fluorescence increase upon introduction of MAOs. Of particular significance is that the fluorescence of t-TPEM in the presence of MAO-A is 21-fold higher than other proteins including MAO-B. Lineweaver-Burk plots reveal that t-TPEM acts as an uncompetitive inhibitor of MAO-A with Ki = 17.1 μM, which confirms its good binding affinity toward MAO-A. Furthermore, a cell imaging experiment reveals that t-TPEM is able to selectively monitor the activity of MAO-A which is localized in mitochondria of MCF-7 cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)927-935
Number of pages9
JournalACS Applied Materials & Interfaces
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • aggregation-induced emission
  • AIEgen
  • enzymatic assay
  • monoamine oxidase-A
  • tetraphenylethylene

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