Stable small quantum dots for synaptic receptor tracking on live neurons

Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2014 Nov 10;53(46):12484-8. doi: 10.1002/anie.201405735. Epub 2014 Sep 26.


We developed a coating method to produce functionalized small quantum dots (sQDs), about 9 nm in diameter, that were stable for over a month. We made sQDs in four emission wavelengths, from 527 to 655 nm and with different functional groups. AMPA receptors on live neurons were labeled with sQDs and postsynaptic density proteins were visualized with super-resolution microscopy. Their diffusion behavior indicates that sQDs access the synaptic clefts significantly more often than commercial QDs.

Keywords: AMPA receptors; fluorescent probes; quantum dots; single-molecule studies.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Fluorescent Dyes / analysis*
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Optical Imaging
  • Quantum Dots / analysis*
  • Rats
  • Receptors, AMPA / analysis*


  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Receptors, AMPA