Carnegie Mellon researchers may have developed new class of fluorescent probes

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Scientists at Carnegie Mellon University ‘s department of chemistry and molecular biosensor and imaging center (MBIC) in Pittsburgh have developed a new class of fluorescent probes that span the spectrum from violet to the near-infrared.

According to Carnegie Mellon, the new technology, called fluoromodules, can be used to monitor biological activities of individual proteins in living cells in real time. These fluromodules consist of dye-protein complexes and provide alternatives to common fluorescent proteins, such as green fluorescent protein. Fluoromodules also provide a wider selection of colors and potentially offer greater photostability, allowing scientists to image the dye for longer periods of time.

"We initially isolated and characterized fluoromodules that generate fluorescence from the fluorogenic dyes thiazole orange and malachite green. We are now expanding our repertoire by synthesizing new dyes that emit in the orange and violet regions of the spectrum, and engineering proteins that bind to the new dyes with great affinity," said chemistry professor Bruce Armitage, co-director of the Center for Nucleic Acid Science and Technology at Carnegie Mellon and a member of the MBIC team developing the fluoromodules.