Synthesis of a highly Mg 2+-selective fluorescent probe and its application to quantifying and imaging total intracellular magnesium

Azzurra Sargenti, Giovanna Farruggia, Nelsi Zaccheroni, Chiara Marraccini, Massimo Sgarzi, Concettina Cappadone, Emil Malucelli, Alessandra Procopio, Luca Prodi, Marco Lombardo, Stefano Iotti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Magnesium plays a crucial role in many physiological functions and pathological states. Therefore, the evolution of specific and sensitive tools capable of detecting and quantifying this element in cells is a very desirable goal in biological and biomedical research. We developed a Mg 2+-selective fluorescent dye that can be used to selectively detect and quantify the total magnesium pool in a number of cells that is two orders of magnitude smaller than that required by flame atomic absorption spectroscopy (F-AAS), the reference analytical method for the assessment of cellular total metal content. This protocol reports itemized steps for the synthesis of the fluorescent dye based on diaza-18-crown-6-hydroxyquinoline (DCHQ5). We also describe its application in the quantification of total intracellular magnesium in mammalian cells and the detection of this ion in vivo by confocal microscopy. The use of in vivo confocal microscopy enables the quantification of magnesium in different cellular compartments. As an example of the sensitivity of DCHQ5, we studied the involvement of Mg 2+ in multidrug resistance in human colon adenocarcinoma cells sensitive (LoVo-S) and resistant (LoVo-R) to doxorubicin, and found that the concentration was higher in LoVo-R cells. The time frame for DCHQ5 synthesis is 1-2 d, whereas the use of this dye for total intracellular magnesium quantification takes 2.5 h and for ion bioimaging it takes 1-2 h.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)461-471
Number of pages11
JournalNature Protocols
Volume12
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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