p-Nitroterphenyl units for near-infrared two-photon uncaging of calcium ions

Thuy Thi Thu Pham, Satish Jakkampudi, Ko Furukawa, Fung Yu Cheng, Tzu Chau Lin, Yoki Nakamura, Norimitsu Morioka, Manabu Abe

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3 Scopus citations


Near-infrared two-photon (NIR-2P) uncaging reactions are useful for precise investigations of the roles of biologically active compounds in various phenomena. In this study, we synthesized new NIR-2P-responsive chromophores with terphenyl backbones featuring an ethylene glycol tetraacetic acid (EGTA) unit as a Ca2+-selective chelator. The photolabile Ca2+ chelators were synthesized in high yields (83 % for 1a, 45 % for 1b) from commercially available starting materials. One- and two-photon photochemical excitations of the synthesized terphenyl derivatives featuring two different electron-donating groups (dimethylamino (NMe2) and methoxyl (OMe)), which were thermally stable at least 36 h at 37 C in HEPES buffer (pH 7.4), were conducted to clarify the substituent effect on the photophysical and photochemical properties. The NMe2 group, which is a stronger electron-donating group, has led to a higher two-photon cross-section (σ2 = 75 GM at 780 nm) compared to the OMe group (σ2 = 9 GM at 720 nm) in a pH = 7.4 HEPES buffer solution, although the molar extinction coefficient (ε) of the NMe2-substituted one (ε = 10,371 at λmax =363 nm) was lower than that of the OMe-derivative (ε = 14,351 at λmax = 344 nm). The quantum yield (Φ = 0.04) for the decomposition of the NMe2-substituted caged compound was lower than that for the OMe-substituted caged compound (Φ = 0.40). One and two-photon uncaging efficiency values of the OMe substituted compound, ε × Φ = 5740 and σ2 × Φ = 3.6, were higher than those of the NMe2-substituted compound, 415 and 3.0, respectively. Laser flash photolysis experiments clarified the decay rate constants (2.5 × 106 and 1.1 × 102 s−1) of aci-nitro intermediates formed during the uncaging process. A concentration jump of Ca2+ was confirmed in the photolysis of caged calcium compounds newly synthesized in this study, indicating the terphenyl derivatives can be also utilized in physiological experiments. The corresponding acetoxymethyl esters were also prepared for physiological studies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113154
JournalJournal of Photochemistry and Photobiology A: Chemistry
StatePublished - 15 Mar 2021


  • Calcium ion
  • Near-infrared
  • Two-photon uncaging


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