Spectra, membrane binding, and potentiometric responses of new charge shift probes

Biochemistry. 1985 Oct 8;24(21):5749-55. doi: 10.1021/bi00342a010.


The properties of a series of new potentiometric membrane probes have been explored. The probes all contain an (aminostyryl)pyridinium chromophore or a more highly conjugated analogue. The spectral properties of the dyes are discussed in terms of the excitation-induced charge shift from the pyridine to the aniline; this charge shift also provides the basis for the voltage dependence of the spectra according to an electrochromic mechanism. The spectral responses to a membrane potential on a hemispherical bilayer have been obtained and, grossly, are quite similar for all probes tested. The more subtle variations from dye to dye can be partially rationalized by consideration of binding parameters, the depth within the membrane, and structural factors. The most potential sensitive dye in this collection has been designated di-4-ANEPPS and has a 6-amino-2-naphthyl group in place of the p-anilino on the parent chromophore. Both the relative fluorescence emission and excitation responses have maxima of 8% per 100 mV, and these two spectra display a striking symmetry.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Chemical Phenomena
  • Chemistry
  • Fluorescent Dyes* / chemical synthesis
  • Indicators and Reagents
  • Lipid Bilayers*
  • Models, Biological
  • Phosphatidylcholines*
  • Potentiometry
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Indicators and Reagents
  • Lipid Bilayers
  • Phosphatidylcholines