Ultrabright photoactivatable fluorophores created by reductive caging

Nat Methods. 2012 Dec;9(12):1181-4. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.2214. Epub 2012 Oct 28.


Sub-diffraction-limit imaging can be achieved by sequential localization of photoactivatable fluorophores, for which the image resolution depends on the number of photons detected per localization. We report a strategy for fluorophore caging that creates photoactivatable probes with high photon yields. Upon photoactivation, these probes can provide 10(4)-10(6) photons per localization and allow imaging of fixed samples with resolutions of several nanometers. This strategy can be applied to many fluorophores across the visible spectrum.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacteriophage M13 / ultrastructure
  • Carbocyanines / chemistry*
  • Cell Line
  • Fluorescent Dyes / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence / methods*
  • Microtubules / ultrastructure
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Photochemical Processes
  • Photons


  • Carbocyanines
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • cyanine dye 3