Far-red photoactivatable BODIPYs for the super-resolution imaging of live cells

Yang Zhang, Sicheng Tang, Laura Ravelo, Janet Cusido, Françisco M. Raymo

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The identification of viable designs to construct switchable fluorescent probes and operate them in the interior of live cells is essential to allow the acquisition of SMLM images and permit the visualization of cellular components with sub-diffraction resolution. Our laboratories developed a mechanism to switch the fluorescence of BODIPY chromophores with the photoinduced cleavage of oxazine heterocycles under mild 405-nm illumination. With appropriate structural modifications, these switchable molecules can be engineered to immobilize covalently on large biomolecules within lysosomal compartments of live COS-7 cells and produce bright far-red fluorescence with optimal contrast upon activation. Such a combination of properties permits the acquisition of PALM images of the labeled organelles with localization precision of ca. 15 nm. This article reports the experimental protocols for the synthesis of and live-cell labeling with these compounds as well as for the reconstruction of super-resolution images of the resulting biological preparations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMethods in Enzymology
PublisherAcademic Press Inc.
StateAccepted/In press - 2020
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameMethods in Enzymology
ISSN (Print)0076-6879
ISSN (Electronic)1557-7988


  • Oxazines
  • PALM
  • Photoactivatable fluorophores
  • Super-resolution imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology

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  • Cite this

    Zhang, Y., Tang, S., Ravelo, L., Cusido, J., & Raymo, F. M. (Accepted/In press). Far-red photoactivatable BODIPYs for the super-resolution imaging of live cells. In Methods in Enzymology (Methods in Enzymology). Academic Press Inc.. https://doi.org/10.1016/bs.mie.2020.04.026