NATURE COMMUNICATIONS, vol.9, 2018 (SCI-Expanded)
Molecular logic gates are expected to play an important role on the way to information processing therapeutic agents, especially considering the wide variety of physical and chemical responses that they can elicit in response to the inputs applied. Here, we show that a 1:2 demultiplexer based on a Zn2+-terpyridine-Bodipy conjugate with a quenched fluorescent emission, is efficient in photosensitized singlet oxygen generation as inferred from trap compound experiments and cell culture data. However, once the singlet oxygen generated by photosensitization triggers apoptotic response, the Zn2+ complex then interacts with the exposed phosphatidylserine lipids in the external leaflet of the membrane bilayer, autonomously switching off singlet oxygen generation, and simultaneously switching on a bright emission response. This is the confirmatory signal of the cancer cell death by the action of molecular automaton and the confinement of unintended damage by excessive singlet oxygen production.