Commercially available RNA stains work well on fixed cells, but have had mixed results in live applications. Young-Tae Chang at New York University and colleagues may have developed novel dyes that work better in vivo.

Chang screened a library of styryl dyes for response to RNA in solution, high signal intensity, and low photobleaching. He selected three candidate dyes for testing in four different cell types. Comparing the results of his novel dyes with that of RNA Select and SYTO, the commercially available dyes manufactured by Invitrogen, his group found that SYTO worked only in fixed-cell applications.1 "We screened it for many conditions but could not make it work in live cells," says Chang, who patented the dyes through NYU and is hoping to commercialize them soon.

Jason Kilgore, Cell Biologist for Invitrogen, maintains that the SYTO labeling patterns are comparable in fixed and live cells. But it is...

1. Chang YT, et al., "RNA-selective, live cell imaging probes for studying nuclear structure and function," Chem Biol, 13:615-23, 2006.

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