Molecular Tuning of Styryl Dyes Leads to Versatile and Efficient Plasma Membrane Probes for Cell and Tissue Imaging.
AbstractThe plasma membrane (PM) plays a major role in many biological processes; therefore, its proper fluorescence staining is required in bioimaging. Among the commercially available PM probes, styryl dye FM1-43 is one of the most widely used. In this work, we demonstrated that fine chemical modifications of FM1-43 can dramatically improve the PM staining. The newly developed probes, SP-468 and SQ-535, were found to display enhanced photophysical properties (reduced cross-talk, higher brightness, improved photostability) and, unlike FM1-43, provided excellent and immediate PM staining in 5 different mammalian cell types including neurons (primary culture and tissue imaging). Taking advantage of these features, we successfully used SP-468 in STED super resolution neuronal imaging. Additionally, we showed that the new probes displayed differences in their internalization pathways compared to their parent FM1-43. Finally, we showed that the new probes kept the ability to stain the PM of plant cells. Overall, this work presents new useful probes for PM imaging in cells and tissues and provides insights on the molecular design of new PM targeting molecules.