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Nat Chem. 2013 Aug;5(8):692-7. doi: 10.1038/nchem.1706. Epub 2013 Jun 30.

A dendritic single-molecule fluorescent probe that is monovalent, photostable and minimally blinking.

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Department of Chemistry, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois 61801, USA.


Single-molecule fluorescence techniques have emerged as a powerful approach to understanding complex biological systems. However, a challenge researchers still face is the limited photostability of nearly all organic fluorophores, including the cyanine and Alexa dyes. We report a new, monovalent probe that emits in the far-red region of the visible spectrum with properties desirable for single-molecule optical imaging. This probe is based on a ring-fused boron-dipyrromethene (BODIPY) core that is conjugated to a polyglycerol dendrimer (PGD). The dendrimer makes the hydrophobic fluorophore water-soluble. This probe exhibits excellent brightness, with an emission maximum of 705 nm. We have observed strikingly long and stable emission from individual PGD-BODIPY probes, even in the absence of anti-fading agents such as Trolox, a combined oxidizing-reducing agent often used in single-molecule studies for improving the photostability of common imaging probes. These interesting properties greatly simplify use of the fluorophore.

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