abberior dyes & labels
The Journal of Physical Chemistry B
Fluorescence Bar-Coding and Flowmetry Based on Dark State Transitions in Fluorescence Emitters
Elin Sandberg, Baris Demirbay, Abhilash Kulkarni, Haichun Liu, Joachim Piguet, Jerker Widengren
fluorescent dyes, fluorescence, fluorescence spectroscopy, fluorophores, fluorescence bar-coding, dark state transitions, rhodamine
Reversible dark state transitions in fluorophores represent a limiting factor in fluorescence-based ultrasensitive spectroscopy, are a necessary basis for fluorescence-based super-resolution imaging, but may also offer additional, largely orthogonal fluorescence-based readout parameters. In this work, we analyzed the blinking kinetics of Cyanine5 (Cy5) as a bar-coding feature distinguishing Cy5 from rhodamine fluorophores having largely overlapping emission spectra. First, fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS) solution measurements on mixtures of free fluorophores and fluorophore-labeled small unilamellar vesicles (SUVs) showed that Cy5 could be readily distinguished from the rhodamines by its reversible, largely excitation-driven trans–cis isomerization. This was next confirmed by transient state (TRAST) spectroscopy measurements, determining the fluorophore dark state kinetics in a more robust manner, from how the time-averaged fluorescence intensity varies upon modulation of the applied excitation light. TRAST was then combined with wide-field imaging of live cells, whereby Cy5 and rhodamine fluorophores could be distinguished on a whole cell level as well as in spatially resolved, multiplexed images of the cells. Finally, we established a microfluidic TRAST concept and showed how different mixtures of free Cy5 and rhodamine fluorophores and corresponding fluorophore-labeled SUVs could be distinguished on-the-fly when passing through a microfluidic channel. In contrast to FCS, TRAST does not rely on single-molecule detection conditions or a high time resolution and is thus broadly applicable to different biological samples. Therefore, we expect that the bar-coding concept presented in this work can offer an additional useful strategy for fluorescence-based multiplexing that can be implemented on a broad range of both stationary and moving samples.