PAPER: Control and selectivity of photosensitized singlet oxygen production: Challenges in complex biological systems

Cló, E.; Snyder, J. W.; Ogilby, P. R.; Gothelf, K. V.

ChemBioChem 2007, 8, 475–481, doi: 10.1002/cbic.200600454

Department of Chemistry and iNANO, University of Aarhus, Langelandsgade 140, 8000 Arhus C, Denmark


Singlet molecular oxygen is a reactive oxygen species that plays an important role in a number of biological processes, both as a signalling agent and as an intermediate involved in oxidative degradation reactions. Singlet oxygen is commonly generated by the so-called photosensitization process wherein a light-absorbing molecule, the sensitizer, transfers its energy of excitation to ground-state oxygen to make singlet oxygen. This process forms the basis of photodynamic therapy, for example, where light, a sensitizer, and oxygen are used to initiate cell death and ultimately destroy undesired tissue. Although the photosensitized production of singlet oxygen has been studied and used in biologically pertinent systems for years, the photoinitiated behaviour is often indiscriminate and difficult to control. In this Concept, we discuss new ideas and results in which spatial and temporal control of photosensitized singlet oxygen production can be implemented through the incorporation of the sensitizer into a conjugate system that selectively responds to certain triggers or stimuli.

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