A Photoswitchable Fluorophore for the Real-Time Monitoring of Dynamic Events in Living Organisms

Yang Zhang, Sicheng Tang, Lorenzo Sansalone, James D. Baker, Françisco M. Raymo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Scopus citations


This study reports the synthesis of a photoactivatable fluorophore with optimal photochemical and photophysical properties for the real-time tracking of motion in vivo. The photoactivation mechanism designed into this particular compound permits the conversion of an emissive reactant into an emissive product with resolved fluorescence, under mild illumination conditions that are impossible to replicate with conventional switching schemes based on bleaching. Indeed, the supramolecular delivery of these photoswitchable probes into the cellular blastoderm of Drosophila melanogaster embryos allows the real-time visualization of translocating molecules with no detrimental effects on the developing organisms. Thus, this innovative mechanism for fluorescence photoactivation can evolve into a general chemical tool to monitor dynamic processes in living biological specimens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15027-15034
Number of pages8
JournalChemistry - A European Journal
Issue number42
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016



  • molecular switches
  • photoactivatable fluorophores
  • photocages
  • supramolecular nanocarriers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Organic Chemistry

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