Mr. Junwen Xu

Tetrazine is a commonly used bioorthogonal functionality that quenches the emission of the appended fluorophores by different processes.  It undergoes inverse electron-demand Diels–Alder (IEDDA) with dienophiles including strained alkynes and alkenes to give the corresponding pyridazine and dihydropyridazine products, respectively.  The rich photophysical properties of iridium(III) polypyridine complexes have been exploited for biomolecular sensing and imaging applications.  These complexes usually display long-lived triplet excited states that render them excellent photosensitizers for singlet oxygen (1O2).  Herein, we report a new class of iridium(III) tetrazine complexes that exhibit very different photophysical and photochemical behavior after reactions with strained dienophile derivatives.  These complexes were utilized for the specific staining of organelles including lysosomes and endoplasmic reticulum of live HeLa cells.  Furthermore, in combination with the HaloTag technology, the control of intracellular photocytotoxic activity of the complexes was demonstrated using different strained dienophile derivatives.


  1. Leung, P. K.-K.; Lee, L. C.-C.; Yeung, H. H.-Y.; Io, K.-W.; Lo, K. K.-W. Chem. Commun. 2021, 57, 4914 – 4917.

University: CityU

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