A photoswitchable solvatochromic dye for probing membrane ordering by RESOLFT super-resolution microscopy


A switchable solvatochromic fluorescent dyad can be used to map ordering of lipids in vesicle membranes at a resolution better than the diffraction limit. Combining a Nile Red fluorophore with a photochromic spironaphthoxazine quencher allows the fluorescence to be controlled using visible light, via photoswitching and FRET quenching. Synthetic lipid vesicles of varying composition were imaged with an average 2.5-fold resolution enhancement, compared to the confocal images. Ratiometric detection was used to probe the membrane polarity, and domains of different lipid ordering were distinguished within the same membrane.


Supplementary material

Supplementary Information
General methods, synthetic procedures, characterisation, photophysics, imaging methods and analysis, NMR and mass spectrometry data.