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J Phys Chem B. 2008 Sep 25;112(38):11878-80. doi: 10.1021/jp806698p. Epub 2008 Aug 28.

Cy3-Cy5 covalent heterodimers for single-molecule photoswitching.

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Department of Chemistry, Stanford University, Stanford, California, USA.


Covalent heterodimers of the Cy3 and Cy5 fluorophores have been prepared from commercially available starting materials and characterized at the single-molecule level. This system behaves as a discrete molecular photoswitch, in which photoexcitation of the Cy5 results in fluorescence emission or, with a much lower probability, causes the Cy5 to enter into a long-lived, but metastable, dark state. Photoinduced recovery of the emissive Cy5 is achieved by very low intensity excitation (5 W cm(-2)) of the Cy3 fluorophore at a shorter wavelength. A similar system consisting of proximal, but not covalently linked, Cy3 and Cy5 has found application in stochastic optical reconstruction microscopy (STORM), a single-molecule localization-based technique for super-resolution imaging that requires photoswitching. The covalent Cy3-Cy5 heterodimers described herein eliminate the need for probabilistic methods of situating the Cy3 and Cy5 in close proximity to enable photoswitching. As proof of principle, these heterodimers have been applied to super-resolution imaging of the tubular stalk structures of live Caulobacter crescentus bacterial cells.

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