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

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


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.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Fluorescent Dyes*
  • Photochemistry
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization


  • Fluorescent Dyes

Associated data

  • PubChem-Substance/163565245
  • PubChem-Substance/163565246
  • PubChem-Substance/163565247
  • PubChem-Substance/163565248
  • PubChem-Substance/163565249
  • PubChem-Substance/163565250
  • PubChem-Substance/163565251
  • PubChem-Substance/163565252
  • PubChem-Substance/163565253
  • PubChem-Substance/163565254
  • PubChem-Substance/163565255
  • PubChem-Substance/163565256