Red‐ and Far‐Red‐Emitting Zinc Probes with Minimal Phototoxicity for Multiplexed Recording of Orchestrated Insulin Secretion
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Zinc biology, featuring intertwining signaling networks and critical importance to human health, witnesses exciting opportunities in the big data era of physiology. Here, we report a class of red- and far-red-emitting Zn2+ probes with Kd values ranging from 190 nM to 74 μM, which are particularly suitable for real-time monitoring the high concentration of Zn2+ co-released with insulin during vesicular secretory events. Compared to the prototypical rhodamine-based Zn2+ probes, the new class exploits morpholino auxochromes which eliminates phototoxicity during long-term live recording of isolated islets. A Si-rhodamine-based Zn2+ probe with high turn-on ratio (>100), whose synthesis was enabled by a new route featuring late-stage N-alkylation, allowed simultaneous recording of Ca2+ influx, mitochondrial signal, and insulin secretion in isolated mouse islets. The time-lapse multicolor fluorescence movies and their analysis, enabled by red-shifted Zn2+ and other orthogonal physiological probes, highlight the potential impact of biocompatible fluorophores on the fields of islet endocrinology and system biology.