Sci Rep 8 (1) 9753 [2018-06-27; online 2018-06-27]
Nitric oxide (NO) is a key signaling molecule in biological systems. New tools are required to therapeutically modulate NO levels with confined precision. This study explores the photoactivatable properties of an NO releasing compound (CPA), based on cupferron O-alkylated with an anthracene derivative. Upon light stimulation, CPA uncages two species: cupferron, which liberates NO, and an anthrylmethyl carbocation, which evolves into a fluorescent reporter. Proof-of-principle is demonstrated using one- and two-photon excitation (1PE and 2PE) in a cellular system (A431 cells). It was found that 1PE induces cell toxicity, while 2PE does not. Since 1PE using UV light is more likely to generate cellular photodamage, the cell toxicity observed using 1PE is most likely a combinatory effect of NO release and other UV-induced damage, which should be subject to further investigation. On the other hand, absence of phototoxicity using 2PE suggests that NO alone is not cytotoxic. This leads to the conclusion that the concept of 2PE photorelease of NO from CPA enable opportunities for biological studies of NO signaling with confined precision of NO release with minimal cytotoxicity.