Polarity-Sensitive Probes for Superresolution Stimulated Emission Depletion Microscopy

Biophys J. 2017 Sep 19;113(6):1321-1330. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2017.06.050. Epub 2017 Jul 19.


The lateral organization of molecules in the cellular plasma membrane plays an important role in cellular signaling. A critical parameter for membrane molecular organization is how the membrane lipids are packed. Polarity-sensitive dyes are powerful tools to characterize such lipid membrane order, employing, for example, confocal and two-photon microscopy. The investigation of potential nanodomains, however, requires the use of superresolution microscopy. Here, we test the performance of the polarity-sensitive membrane dyes Di-4-ANEPPDHQ, Di-4-AN(F)EPPTEA, and NR12S in superresolution stimulated emission depletion microscopy. Measurements on cell-derived membrane vesicles, in the plasma membrane of live cells, and on single virus particles, show the high potential of these dyes for probing nanoscale membrane heterogeneity.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Benzoxazines* / chemistry
  • CHO Cells
  • Cell Membrane
  • Cricetulus
  • Cytoplasmic Vesicles
  • Fluorescent Dyes* / chemistry
  • HEK293 Cells
  • HIV
  • Humans
  • Microscopy* / methods
  • Molecular Structure
  • Phosphatidylethanolamines / chemistry
  • Pyridinium Compounds* / chemistry
  • Quaternary Ammonium Compounds* / chemistry
  • Spectrum Analysis
  • Virion / chemistry
  • Voltage-Sensitive Dye Imaging* / methods


  • Benzoxazines
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • NR12S compound
  • Phosphatidylethanolamines
  • Pyridinium Compounds
  • Quaternary Ammonium Compounds
  • di-4-AN(F)EPPTEA
  • di-4-ANEPPDHQ
  • 1,2-dipalmitoyl-3-phosphatidylethanolamine