FM-dyes as experimental probes for dissecting vesicle trafficking in living plant cells

J Microsc. 2004 May;214(Pt 2):159-73. doi: 10.1111/j.0022-2720.2004.01348.x.


FM-dyes are widely used to study endocytosis, vesicle trafficking and organelle organization in living eukaryotic cells. The increasing use of FM-dyes in plant cells has provoked much debate with regard to their suitability as endocytosis markers, which organelles they stain and the precise pathways they follow through the vesicle trafficking network. A primary aim of this article is to assess critically the current status of this debate in plant cells. For this purpose, background information on the important characteristics of the FM-dyes, and of optimal dye concentrations, conditions of dye storage, and staining and imaging protocols, are provided. Particular emphasis is placed on using the FM-dyes in double labelling experiments to identity specific organelles. In this way, staining of the Golgi with FM4-64 has been demonstrated for the first time.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biological Transport, Active
  • Endocytosis
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / metabolism
  • Endosomes / metabolism
  • Fluorescent Dyes* / chemistry
  • Fluorescent Dyes* / pharmacokinetics
  • Golgi Apparatus / metabolism
  • Intracellular Membranes / metabolism
  • Kinetics
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Models, Biological
  • Organelles / metabolism
  • Plant Cells*
  • Plants / metabolism*
  • Pyridinium Compounds* / chemistry
  • Pyridinium Compounds* / pharmacokinetics
  • Quaternary Ammonium Compounds* / chemistry
  • Quaternary Ammonium Compounds* / pharmacokinetics
  • Staining and Labeling
  • Vacuoles / metabolism


  • FM 4-64
  • FM1 43
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Pyridinium Compounds
  • Quaternary Ammonium Compounds