Staying bright

A confocal section of a cell labeled with three quantum dot-conjugated antibodies. Credit: Courtesy of Diane Lidke, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Albuquerque" />A confocal section of a cell labeled with three quantum dot-conjugated antibodies. Credit: Courtesy of Diane Lidke, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Albuquerque User: Diane Lidke, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Albuquerque The project: Labeling as many as six proteins si

Melissa Lee Phillips
Dec 1, 2007
<figcaption>A confocal section of a cell labeled with three quantum dot-conjugated antibodies. Credit: Courtesy of Diane Lidke, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Albuquerque</figcaption>
A confocal section of a cell labeled with three quantum dot-conjugated antibodies. Credit: Courtesy of Diane Lidke, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Albuquerque

User: Diane Lidke, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Albuquerque

The project: Labeling as many as six proteins simultaneously to track protein dynamics during signal transduction in live cells.

The problem: Lidke chooses quantum dots (Invitrogen) over dyes "mainly for their photostability and high brightness." However, even quantum dots can degrade with high excitation power. Light degradation "will result in a loss of fluorescence intensity," Lidke says, "but before all fluorescence is lost, the emission wavelength will slowly shift to the blue," potentially causing dot emission to be collected in the wrong detection channel. Moreover, methanol and mounting media can damage quantum dot fluorescence.

The solution: The only solution to...