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5 Publications

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    12/11/15 | Synthesis of a far-red photoactivatable silicon-containing rhodamine for super-resolution microscopy.
    Grimm JB, Klein T, Kopek BG, Shtengel G, Hess HF, Sauer M, Lavis LD
    Angewandte Chemie (International ed. in English). 2015 Dec 11;55(5):1723-7. doi: 10.1002/anie.201509649

    The rhodamine system is a flexible framework for building small-molecule fluorescent probes. Changing N-substitution patterns and replacing the xanthene oxygen with a dimethylsilicon moiety can shift the absorption and fluorescence emission maxima of rhodamine dyes to longer wavelengths. Acylation of the rhodamine nitrogen atoms forces the molecule to adopt a nonfluorescent lactone form, providing a convenient method to make fluorogenic compounds. Herein, we take advantage of all of these structural manipulations and describe a novel photoactivatable fluorophore based on a Si-containing analogue of Q-rhodamine. This probe is the first example of a "caged" Si-rhodamine, exhibits higher photon counts compared to established localization microscopy dyes, and is sufficiently red-shifted to allow multicolor imaging. The dye is a useful label for super-resolution imaging and constitutes a new scaffold for far-red fluorogenic molecules.

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    07/17/15 | Ketamine Inside Neurons?
    Lester HA, Lavis LD, Dougherty DA
    American Journal of Psychiatry. 2015 Jul 17;172(11):1064-6. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2015.14121537
    05/21/15 | Imaging live-cell dynamics and structure at the single-molecule level.
    Liu Z, Lavis LD, Betzig E
    Molecular Cell. 2015 May 21;58(4):644-59. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2015.02.033

    Observation of molecular processes inside living cells is fundamental to a quantitative understanding of how biological systems function. Specifically, decoding the complex behavior of single molecules enables us to measure kinetics, transport, and self-assembly at this fundamental level that is often veiled in ensemble experiments. In the past decade, rapid developments in fluorescence microscopy, fluorescence correlation spectroscopy, and fluorescent labeling techniques have enabled new experiments to investigate the robustness and stochasticity of diverse molecular mechanisms with high spatiotemporal resolution. This review discusses the concepts and strategies of structural and functional imaging in living cells at the single-molecule level with minimal perturbations to the specimen.

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    02/10/15 | A sensitive and robust enzyme kinetic experiment using microplates and fluorogenic ester substrates
    Johnson RJ, Hoops GC, Savas CJ, Kartje Z, Lavis LD
    Journal of Chemical Education. 2015 Feb;92(2):385-8. doi: 10.1021/ed500452f

    Enzyme kinetics measurements are a standard component of undergraduate biochemistry laboratories. The combination of serine hydrolases and fluorogenic enzyme substrates provides a rapid, sensitive, and general method for measuring enzyme kinetics in an undergraduate biochemistry laboratory. In this method, the kinetic activity of multiple protein variants is determined in parallel using a microplate reader, multichannel pipets, serial dilutions, and fluorogenic ester substrates. The utility of this methodology is illustrated by the measurement of differential enzyme activity in microplate volumes in triplicate with small protein samples and low activity enzyme variants. Enzyme kinetic measurements using fluorogenic substrates are, thus, adaptable for use with student-purified enzyme variants and for comparative enzyme kinetics studies. The rapid setup and analysis of these kinetic experiments not only provides advanced undergraduates with experience in a fundamental biochemical technique, but also provides the adaptability for use in inquiry-based laboratories.

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    01/19/15 | A general method to improve fluorophores for live-cell and single-molecule microscopy.
    Grimm JB, English BP, Chen J, Slaughter JP, Zhang Z, Revyakin A, Patel R, Macklin JJ, Normanno D, Singer RH, Lionnet T, Lavis LD
    Nature Methods. 2015 Jan 19;12(3):244-50. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.3256

    Specific labeling of biomolecules with bright fluorophores is the keystone of fluorescence microscopy. Genetically encoded self-labeling tag proteins can be coupled to synthetic dyes inside living cells, resulting in brighter reporters than fluorescent proteins. Intracellular labeling using these techniques requires cell-permeable fluorescent ligands, however, limiting utility to a small number of classic fluorophores. Here we describe a simple structural modification that improves the brightness and photostability of dyes while preserving spectral properties and cell permeability. Inspired by molecular modeling, we replaced the N,N-dimethylamino substituents in tetramethylrhodamine with four-membered azetidine rings. This addition of two carbon atoms doubles the quantum efficiency and improves the photon yield of the dye in applications ranging from in vitro single-molecule measurements to super-resolution imaging. The novel substitution is generalizable, yielding a palette of chemical dyes with improved quantum efficiencies that spans the UV and visible range.

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