Benzocoumarin-Styryl Hybrids: Aggregation and Viscosity Induced Emission Enhancement
Sequence-specific recognition of DNA by small turn-on fluorescence probes is a promising tool for bioimaging, bioanalytical and biomedical applications. Here, the authors report a novel cell-permeable and red fluorescent hemicyanine-based thiazole coumarin (TC) probe for DNA recognition, nuclear staining and cell cycle analysis. TC exhibited strong fluorescence enhancement in the presence of DNA containing AT-base pairs, but did not fluoresce with GC sequences, single-stranded DNA, RNA and proteins. The fluorescence staining of HeLa S3 and HEK 293 cells by TC followed by DNase and RNase digestion studies depicted the selective staining of DNA in the nucleus over the cytoplasmic region. Fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) analysis by flow cytometry demonstrated the potential application of TC in cell cycle analysis in HEK 293 cells. Metaphase chromosome and malaria parasite DNA imaging studies further confirmed the in vivo diagnostic and therapeutic applications of probe TC. Probe TC may find multiple applications in fluorescence spectroscopy, diagnostics, bioimaging and molecular and cell biology.