ZFIN ID: ZDB-PUB-171107-10
Ultrasensitive optical imaging with lanthanide lumiphores
Cho, U., Riordan, D.P., Ciepla, P., Kocherlakota, K.S., Chen, J.K., Harbury, P.B.
Date: 2017
Source: Nature Chemical Biology   14(1): 15-21 (Journal)
Registered Authors: Chen, James K.
Keywords: none
MeSH Terms:
  • Animals
  • Coordination Complexes/chemical synthesis
  • Coordination Complexes/chemistry*
  • Lanthanoid Series Elements/chemical synthesis
  • Lanthanoid Series Elements/chemistry*
  • Luminescent Agents/chemical synthesis
  • Luminescent Agents/chemistry*
  • Luminescent Measurements/methods*
  • Optical Imaging/methods*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Zebrafish/embryology
  • Zebrafish/metabolism
  • Zebrafish Proteins/biosynthesis*
PubMed: 29106397 Full text @ Nat. Chem. Biol.
In principle, the millisecond emission lifetimes of lanthanide chelates should enable their ultrasensitive detection in biological systems by time-resolved optical microscopy. In practice, however, lanthanide imaging techniques have provided no better sensitivity than conventional fluorescence microscopy. Here, we identified three fundamental problems that have impeded lanthanide microscopy: low photon flux, inefficient excitation, and optics-derived background luminescence. We overcame these limitations with a new lanthanide imaging modality, transreflected illumination with luminescence resonance energy transfer (trLRET), which increases the time-integrated signal intensities of lanthanide lumiphores by 170-fold and the signal-to-background ratios by 75-fold. We demonstrate that trLRET provides at least an order-of-magnitude increase in detection sensitivity over that of conventional epifluorescence microscopy when used to visualize endogenous protein expression in zebrafish embryos. We also show that trLRET can be used to optically detect molecular interactions in vivo. trLRET promises to unlock the full potential of lanthanide lumiphores for ultrasensitive, autofluorescence-free biological imaging.