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Probing Polarity and Heterogeneity of Lipid Droplets in Live Cells Using a Push–Pull Fluorophore

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journal contribution
posted on 28.12.2018, 00:00 by Mayeul Collot, Sophie Bou, Tkhe Kyong Fam, Ludovic Richert, Yves Mély, Lydia Danglot, Andrey S. Klymchenko
Lipid droplets (LDs) are organelles composed of a lipid core surrounded by a phospholipid monolayer. Lately, LDs have attracted considerable attention due to recent studies demonstrating their role in a variety of physiological processes as well as diseases. Herein we synthesized a push–pull molecule named DAF (Dimethyl Aniline Furaldehyde) that possesses a strong positive solvatochromism in emission of 119 nm from toluene to methanol. Its impressive fluorogenic properties from water to oil (2000-fold) as well as its high quantum yields (up to 0.97) led us to investigate its ability to sense the distribution of polarity in live cells by fluorescence ratiometric imaging. When added to live cells and excited at 405 nm, DAF immediately and brightly stain lipid droplets using a blue channel (410–500 nm) and cytoplasm in a red channel (500–600 nm). DAF also proved to be compatible with fixation thus allowing 3D imaging of LDs in their cytoplasm environment. Taking advantage of DAF emission in two distinct channels, ratiometric imaging was successfully performed and led to the polarity mapping of the cell unraveling some heterogeneity in polarity within LDs of the same cell.

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