American Chemical Society
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Isomerically Pure Tetramethylrhodamine Voltage Reporters

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posted on 2016-07-18, 12:54 authored by Parker E. Deal, Rishikesh U. Kulkarni, Sarah H. Al-Abdullatif, Evan W. Miller
We present the design, synthesis, and application of a new family of fluorescent voltage indicators based on isomerically pure tetramethylrhodamines. These new Rhodamine Voltage Reporters, or RhoVRs, use photoinduced electron transfer (PeT) as a trigger for voltage sensing, display excitation and emission profiles in the green to orange region of the visible spectrum, demonstrate high sensitivity to membrane potential changes (up to 47% ΔF/F per 100 mV), and employ a tertiary amide derived from sarcosine, which aids in membrane localization and simultaneously simplifies the synthetic route to the voltage sensors. The most sensitive of the RhoVR dyes, RhoVR 1, features a methoxy-substituted diethylaniline donor and phenylenevinylene molecular wire at the 5′-position of the rhodamine aryl ring, exhibits the highest voltage sensitivity to date for red-shifted PeT-based voltage sensors, and is compatible with simultaneous imaging alongside green fluorescent protein-based indicators. The discoveries that sarcosine-based tertiary amides in the context of molecular-wire voltage indicators prevent dye internalization and 5′-substituted voltage indicators exhibit improved voltage sensitivity should be broadly applicable to other types of PeT-based voltage-sensitive fluorophores.