Nitric oxide (NO) donors are valuable tools to probe the profound implications of NO in health and disease. The elusive nature of NO bio-relevance has largely limited the use of spontaneous NO donors and promoted the development of next generation NO donors, whose NO release is not only stimulated by a trigger, but also readily monitored via a judiciously built-in self-calibration mechanism. Light is without a doubt the most sensitive, versatile and biocompatible method of choice for both triggering and monitoring, for applications in complex biological matrices. Herein, we designed and synthesized an N-nitroso rhodamine derivative (NOD560) as a photo-triggered and photo-calibrated NO donor to address this need. NOD560 is essentially non-fluorescent. Upon irradiation by green light (532 nm), it efficiently release NO and a rhodamine dye, the dramatic fluorescence turn-on from which could be harnessed to conveniently monitor the localization, flux, and dose of NO release. The potentials of NOD560 for in vitro biological applications were also exemplified in in vitro biological models, i.e. mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) migration suppression. NOD560 is expected to complement the existing NO donors and find widespread applications in chemical biological studies.Graphical abstract
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