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  1. Macchione, M.; Chuard, N.; Sakai, N.; Matile, S. “Planarizable Push-Pull Probes: Overtwisted Flipper Mechanophores” ChemPlusChem 2017, 82, 1062-1066

Planarizable push–pull fluorescent probes, also referred to as flipper probes, have been introduced as conceptually innovative mechanophores that report on forces in their local environment in lipid bilayer membranes. The best flipper probes respond to a change from liquid disordered to solid ordered membranes with a red shift in excitation of 50–90 nm. A simultaneous increase in fluorescence lifetime and negligible background fluorescence from the aqueous phase qualifies these fluorescent probes for meaningful imaging in live cells. Here, we report that the replacement of methyl with isobutyl substituents along the scaffold of a dithienothiophene dimer strongly reduces fluorescence intensity but increases solvatochromism slightly. These trends imply that the large substituents in “leucine flippers” hinder the planarization in the first excited state to result in twisted intramolecular charge transfer (TICT). As a result of this overtwisting, the leucine flippers form interesting fluorescent micelles in water but fail to respond to changes in membrane order. These dramatic changes in function provide one of the most impressive illustrations for the hypersensitivity of fluorescent membrane probes toward small changes in their structure.

DOI: 10.1002/cplu.201600634 

open archive unige:95494 • pdf