Synchronous Bioimaging of Intracellular pH and Chloride Based on LSS Fluorescent Protein

ACS Chem Biol. 2016 Jun 17;11(6):1652-60. doi: 10.1021/acschembio.6b00103. Epub 2016 Apr 7.


Ion homeostasis regulates critical physiological processes in the living cell. Intracellular chloride concentration not only contributes in setting the membrane potential of quiescent cells but it also plays a role in modulating the dynamic voltage changes during network activity. Dynamic chloride imaging demands new tools, allowing faster acquisition rates and correct accounting of concomitant pH changes. Joining a long-Stokes-shift red-fluorescent protein to a GFP variant with high sensitivity to pH and chloride, we obtained LSSmClopHensor, a genetically encoded fluorescent biosensor optimized for the simultaneous chloride and pH imaging and requiring only two excitation wavelengths (458 and 488 nm). LSSmClopHensor allowed us to monitor the dynamic changes of intracellular pH and chloride concentration during seizure like discharges in neocortical brain slices. Only cells with tightly controlled resting potential revealed a narrow distribution of chloride concentration peaking at about 5 and 8 mM, in neocortical neurons and SK-N-SH cells, respectively. We thus showed that LSSmClopHensor represents a new versatile tool for studying the dynamics of chloride and proton concentration in living systems.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biosensing Techniques / methods*
  • Brain Chemistry
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chlorides / analysis*
  • Fluorescent Dyes / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Light
  • Luminescent Proteins / chemistry*
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Chlorides
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Luminescent Proteins