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Copper chemistry has been capitalized on in a wide spectrum of biological events. The central importance of copper in biology lies in the diverse chemical reactivity of the redox-active transition metal ranging from electron transfer, small molecule binding and activation, to catalysis. In addition to its many different roles in natural biological systems, the diverse chemical reactivity of copper also represents a rich opportunity and resource to develop synthetic bioanalytical tools for the study of biologically important species and molecules. In this mini-review, fluorescent probes featuring a specific copper-based chemical reaction to selectively detect a biologically relevant analyte will be discussed. In particular, fluorescent probes for sensing labile copper ions, amino acids and small reactive species will be highlighted. The chemical principles, advantages and limitations of the different types of copper-mediated chemical reactions in these fluorescent probes will be emphasized.

Original publication




Conference paper

Publication Date





300 - 312


Chelating Agents, Coordination Complexes, Copper, Fluorescent Dyes