[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT:
Styryl dyes have been among the most widely used probes for mapping membrane potential changes in excitable cells. However, their utility has been somewhat limited because their excitation wavelengths have been restricted to the 450-550 nm range. Longer wavelength probes can minimize interference from endogenous chromophores and, because of decreased light scattering, improve recording from deep within tissue. In this paper we report on our efforts to develop new potentiometric styryl dyes that have excitation wavelengths ranging above 700 nm and emission spectra out to 900 nm. We have prepared and characterized dyes based on 47 variants of the styryl chromophores. Voltage-dependent spectral changes have been recorded for these dyes in a model lipid bilayer and from lobster nerves. The voltage sensitivities of the fluorescence of many of these new potentiometric indicators are as good as those of the widely used ANEP series of probes. In addition, because some of the dyes are often poorly water soluble, we have developed cyclodextrin complexes of the dyes to serve as efficient delivery vehicles. These dyes promise to enable new experimental paradigms for in vivo imaging of membrane potential.