Photolysis of dimethoxynitrobenzyl-"caged" acids yields fluorescent products

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Carboxylic acids conjugated with 4,5-dimethoxy-2-nitrobenzyl photoremovable protecting group are well known and widely used for biological studies. In this paper, we study the photolysis of likewise "caged" acetic, caprylic and arachidonic acids. Unexpectedly, we observed huge growth of fluorescence emission at ~430 nm during photolysis. Following further UV irradiation, a product with fluorescence at longer wavelength was formed (470 nm excitation / ~500-600 nm emission). While it may be used to monitor the "uncaging", these fluorescent products may interfere with widespread dyes such as fluorescein in biomedical experiments. This effect might be negligible if the photolysis products dissolve in the medium. On the other hand, we observed that arachidonic and caprylic acids derivatives self-organize in emulsion droplets in water environment due to long lipophilic chains. Illumination of droplets by UV rapidly induces orange fluorescence excited by 488 nm light. This fluorescence turn-on was fast (~0.1 s) and apparently caused by the accumulation of water-insoluble fluorescent residuals inside droplets. These self-organized lipophilic structures with fluorescence turn-on capability may be of interest for biomedical and other application. We have identified and hypothesized some compounds which may be responsible for the observed fluorescense.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13421
Pages (from-to)13421
Number of pages1
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 17 Sep 2019



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