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Systematic Tuning of Rhodamine Spirocyclization for Super-resolution Microscopy

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posted on 30.08.2021, 20:31 authored by Nicolas Lardon, Lu Wang, Aline Tschanz, Philipp Hoess, Mai Tran, Elisa D’Este, Jonas Ries, Kai Johnsson
Rhodamines are the most important class of fluorophores for applications in live-cell fluorescence microscopy. This is mainly because rhodamines exist in a dynamic equilibrium between a fluorescent zwitterion and a nonfluorescent but cell-permeable spirocyclic form. Different imaging applications require different positions of this dynamic equilibrium, and an adjustment of the equilibrium poses a challenge for the design of suitable probes. We describe here how the conversion of the ortho-carboxy moiety of a given rhodamine into substituted acyl benzenesulfonamides and alkylamides permits the systematic tuning of the equilibrium of spirocyclization with unprecedented accuracy and over a large range. This allows one to transform the same rhodamine into either a highly fluorogenic and cell-permeable probe for live-cell-stimulated emission depletion (STED) microscopy or a spontaneously blinking dye for single-molecule localization microscopy (SMLM). We used this approach to generate differently colored probes optimized for different labeling systems and imaging applications.