The development of efficient and selective luminescent probes for reactive oxygen species, particularly for singlet molecular oxygen, is currently of great importance. In this study, the photochemical behavior of Singlet Oxygen Sensor Green® (SOSG), a commercially available fluorescent probe for singlet oxygen, was examined. Despite published claims to the contrary, the data presented herein indicate that SOSG can, in fact, be incorporated into a living mammalian cell. However, for a number of reasons, caution must be exercised when using SOSG. First, it is shown that the immediate product of the reaction between SOSG and singlet oxygen is, itself, an efficient singlet oxygen photosensitizer. Second, SOSG appears to efficiently bind to proteins which, in turn, can influence uptake by a cell as well as behavior in the cell. As such, incorrect use of SOSG can yield misleading data on yields of photosensitized singlet oxygen production, and can also lead to photooxygenation-dependent adverse effects in the system being investigated.
Photochemistry and Photobiology, 2011, Vol 87, p. 671-679