Thiol reactive probes and chemosensors

Hanjing Peng, Weixuan Chen, Yunfeng Cheng, Lovemore Hakuna, Robert Strongin, Binghe Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

202 Scopus citations


Thiols are important molecules in the environment and in biological processes. Cysteine (Cys), homocysteine (Hcy), glutathione (GSH) and hydrogen sulfide (H2S) play critical roles in a variety of physiological and pathological processes. The selective detection of thiols using reaction-based probes and sensors is very important in basic research and in disease diagnosis. This review focuses on the design of fluorescent and colorimetric probes and sensors for thiol detection. Thiol detection methods include probes and labeling agents based on nucleophilic addition and substitution, Michael addition, disulfide bond or Se-N bond cleavage, metal-sulfur interactions and more. Probes for H2S are based on nucleophilic cyclization, reduction and metal sulfide formation. Thiol probe and chemosensor design strategies and mechanism of action are discussed in this review.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15907-15946
Number of pages40
JournalSensors (Switzerland)
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Cysteine
  • Detection
  • Glutathione
  • Homocysteine
  • Hydrogen sulfide
  • Probes
  • Sensors
  • Thiols

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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