Send to

Choose Destination
Anal Biochem. 1992 Jul;204(1):65-71.

Comparison of spectrum-shifting intracellular pH probes 5'(and 6')-carboxy-10-dimethylamino-3-hydroxyspiro[7H-benzo[c]xanthene-7, 1'(3'H)-isobenzofuran]-3'-one and 2',7'-biscarboxyethyl-5(and 6)-carboxyfluorescein.

Author information

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107.


The dyes carboxy-SNARF-1 and BCECF are fluorescent probes of intracellular pH that exhibit changes in spectral shape upon proton binding which allow one to use measurements of fluorescence at two or more wavelengths in order to measure pH without artifacts associated with variability in dye loading, etc. In evaluating these dyes for this study, whole spectra, rather than measurements at two wavelengths, were analyzed. For BCECF, the effects of the intracellular milieu were minimal: both the pH-sensitive excitation spectrum and the pKa agreed closely with values found in extracellular solution. In contrast, both the spectra and the pKa for the emission spectrum-shifting carboxy-SNARF-1 showed significant differences between intracellular and extracellular dye. As a result, extremely misleading values for intracellular pH will be obtained if one attempts to use extracellular dye to calibrate intracellular carboxy-SNARF-1 measurements. Multiple origins were found for the discrepancy: (i) the intracellular dye was found to be significantly quenched, with the deprotonated form being more strongly quenched than the protonated form; and (ii) the pKa for the equilibrium with intracellular hydrogen ions was shifted by +0.2 pH units. These effects were readily reversed by disruption of the cell, but were not due to sequestering of dye in an acidic cell compartment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center