Indexed on: 06 Jan '15Published on: 06 Jan '15Published in: Chemical Society Reviews
Metal ions play an important role in various biological processes, their abnormal homeostasis in cells is related to many diseases, such as neurodegenerative disease, cancer and diabetes. Fluorescent imaging offers a unique route to detect metal ions in cells via a contactless and damage-free way with high spatial and temporal fidelity. Consequently, it represents a promising method to advance the understanding of physiological and pathological functions of metal ions in cell biology. In this highlight article, we will discuss recent advances in fluorescent imaging of metal ions by small-molecule sensors for understanding the role of metals in related diseases. We will also discuss challenges and opportunities for the design of small-molecule sensors for fluorescent detection of cellular metal ions as a potential method for disease diagnosis.