Synthetic organic fluorophores are powerful tools for bioimaging, but frequently display shortened observation times and signal fluctuations. Intramolecular photostabilization via triple-state quenching was recently revived as a tool to impart synthetic organic fluorophores with ‘self-healing’ properties. To date, utilization of such fluorophore derivatives is rare due to their elaborate multi-step synthesis.
Researchers present a general strategy to covalently link a synthetic organic fluorophore simultaneously to a photostabilizer and biomolecular target via unnatural amino acids.
The modular approach uses commercially available starting materials and simple chemical transformations.
The resulting photostabilizer–dye conjugates are based on rhodamines, carbopyronines and cyanines with excellent photophysical properties, that is, high photostability and minimal signal fluctuations.
Their versatile use is demonstrated by single-step labelling of DNA, antibodies and proteins, as well as applications in single-molecule and super-resolution fluorescence microscopy.
Authors are convinced that the presented scaffolding strategy and the improved characteristics of the conjugates in applications will trigger the broader use of intramolecular photostabilization and help to emerge this approach as a new gold standard.