DOI: 10.1002/ange.202307538 ISSN:

Self‐quenched Fluorophore Dimers for DNA‐PAINT and STED Microscopy

Laurell F. Kessler, Ashwin Balakrishnan, Nina S. Deußner‐Helfmann, Yunqing Li, Maximilian Mantel, Marius Glogger, Hans‐Dieter Barth, Marina S. Dietz, Mike Heilemann
  • General Medicine


Super‐resolution techniques like single‐molecule localisation microscopy (SMLM) and stimulated emission depletion (STED) microscopy have been extended by the use of non‐covalent, weak affinity‐based transient labelling systems. DNA‐based hybrid systems are a prominent example among these transient labelling systems, offering excellent opportunities for multi‐target fluorescence imaging. However, these techniques suffer from higher background relative to covalently bound fluorophores, originating from unbound fluorophore‐labelled single‐stranded oligonucleotides. Here, we introduce short‐distance self‐quenching in fluorophore dimers as an efficient mechanism to reduce background fluorescence signal, while at the same time increasing the photon budget in the bound state by almost 2‐fold. We characterise the optical and thermodynamic properties of fluorophore‐dimer single‐stranded DNA, and show super‐resolution imaging applications with STED and SMLM with increased spatial resolution and reduced background.

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