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Real-Time Apoptosis Monitoring Strategies with Self-Enhanced Carbonized Polymer Dots

By 23rd May 2020No Comments

The following study was conducted by Scientists from State Key Laboratory of Supramolecular Structure and Materials, College of Chemistry, The Scientific Research Center, China-Japan Union Hospital, Department of Periodontology, Stomatology Hospital, Key Laboratory of Organ Regeneration & Transplantation of the Ministry of Education, The First Hospital of Jilin University, Jilin University, Jilin, China. Study is published in iScience Journal – Cell Press Publishing as detailed below.

iScience Journal – Cell Press Publishing (2020)

Self-Enhanced Carbonized Polymer Dots for Selective Visualization of Lysosomes and Real-Time Apoptosis Monitoring


  • CA/oPD-CPDs with extreme pH sensitivity through aggregation-dissociation process
  • Irradiation-enhanced CA/oPD-CPDs for mapping living cells in a real-time manner
  • CA/oPD-CPDs super-nanoparticles assembly to selectively visualize lysosomes
  • Mapping the spatial distribution of pH in living cells during apoptosis


Protons are highly related to cell viability during physiological and pathological processes. Developing new probes to monitor the pH variation could be extremely helpful to understand the viability of cells and the cell death study. Carbonized polymer dots (CPDs) are superior biocompatible and have been widely applied in bioimaging field. Herein, a new type of extreme-pH suitable CPDs was prepared from citric acid and o-phenylenediamine (CA/oPD-CPDs). Due to the co-existence of hydrophilic and hydrophobic groups, CA/oPD-CPDs tend to aggregate in neutral condition with a dramatic decrease of fluorescence, but disperse well in both acidic and alkaline conditions with brighter emission. This specialty enables them to selectively illuminate lysosomes in cells. Moreover, CA/oPD-CPDs in the cytoplasm could serve as a sustained probe to record intracellular pH variation during apoptosis. Furthermore, CA/oPD-CPDs present a continuous fluorescence increase upon 2-h laser irradiation in living cells, underscoring this imaging system for long-term biological recording.


iScience – Cell Press Publishing



Zhao, X., J. Li, et al. (2020). “Self-Enhanced Carbonized Polymer Dots for Selective Visualization of Lysosomes and Real-Time Apoptosis Monitoring.” iScience 23(4): 100982.