Reduced Dyes Enhance Single-Molecule Localization Density for Live Superresolution Imaging
Cell-permeable rhodamine dyes are reductively quenched by NaBH4 into a non-fluorescent leuco-rhodamine form. Quenching is reversible, and their fluorescence is recovered when the dyes are oxidized. In living cells, oxidation occurs spontaneously, and can result in up to ten-fold higher densities of single molecule localizations, and more photons per localization as compared with unmodified dyes. These two parameters directly impact the achievable resolution, and we see a significant improvement in the quality of live-cell point-localization super-resolution images taken with reduced dyes. These improvements carry over to increase the density of trajectories for single-molecule tracking experiments.