Cyclooctatetraene-conjugated cyanine mitochondrial probes minimize phototoxicity in fluorescence and nanoscopic imaging†
Modern fluorescence-imaging methods promise to unveil organelle dynamics in live cells. Phototoxicity, however, has become a prevailing issue when boosted illumination applies. Mitochondria are representative organelles whose research heavily relies on optical imaging, yet these membranous hubs of bioenergy are exceptionally vulnerable to photodamage. We report that cyclooctatetraene-conjugated cyanine dyes (PK Mito dyes), are ideal mitochondrial probes with remarkably low photodynamic damage for general use in fluorescence cytometry. In contrast, the nitrobenzene conjugate of Cy3 exhibits enhanced photostability but unaffected phototoxicity compared to parental Cy3. PK Mito Red, in conjunction with Hessian-structural illumination microscopy, enables 2000-frame time-lapse imaging with clearly resolvable crista structures, revealing rich mitochondrial dynamics. In a rigorous stem cell sorting and transplantation assay, PK Mito Red maximally retains the stemness of planarian neoblasts, exhibiting excellent multifaceted biocompatibility. Resonating with the ongoing theme of reducing photodamage using optical approaches, this work advocates the evaluation and minimization of phototoxicity when developing imaging probes.
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