An NIR emitting styryl dye with large Stokes shift to enable co-staining study on zebrafish neuromast hair cells.


Department of Biology, The University of Akron, Akron, OH 44325, United States. Electronic address: [Email]


Hearing loss is a significant public health problem, and the "loss of sensory hair cells" is one of two leading causes in humans. Advanced imaging reagents are desirable for understanding the role of the surrounding support cells in the loss or regeneration of the hair cells. A styryl dye was found to exhibit NIR emission (λem ≈ 684 nm) with a very large Stokes shift (Δν ≈ 9190 cm-1), due to the incorporation of excited state intramolecular proton transfer (ESIPT) mechanism. When used to stain live zebrafish embryos, the probe was found to exhibit good selectivity in targeting neuromasts, which are sensory organs on the surface of the fish's body. The finding was verified by direct comparison with the known neuromast-labeling reagent, 4-Di-2-ASP. In contrast to the existing styryl dyes that label neuromast hair cells, the new probe labeled both neuromast hair cells and the surrounding support cells, while giving discernable signals. The study thus illustrated a useful tool to aid the developmental study of two closely related cell types on the mechanosensory sensory organ of zebrafish, which is a powerful animal model for hearing loss research.


Cyanine,Excited state intramolecular proton transfer,Near Infrared (NIR) emission,Neuromasts,Styryl dye,Support cell,Zebrafish,

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