Publication Date

Spring 4-29-2021


School of Health Sciences


Biology: Biomedical Sciences


fluorescent cell stain, fluorescence, fluorescent anthraquinone, anthraquinone, anthraquinone-derivative, nuclear stain, DRAQ5, DRAQ7, CyTRAK Orange, ER stain, ERTracker Green, ERTracker, endoplasmic reticulum stain, cytoplasmic stain, nuclear dye, ER dye, cytoplasm dye, Stokes shift, large Stokes shift, no wash-off procedure, no wash step, photostable, photostable dye, resistance to photobleaching, resistant to photobleaching, cell permeable, cell permeable stain, cell permeable dye, live cell staining, live cell imaging, fixed cell staining, fixed cell imaging, fluorescence microscopy, novel cell stain


Bioimaging and Biomedical Optics | Cell Biology | Organic Chemistry


Anthraquinones are aromatic organic compounds that have multiple applications in the biomedical field. Some anthraquinone-based compounds are used as fluorophores to contrast cell nuclei while others act as chemotherapeutic agents. However, there are not many fluorescent anthraquinone cell stains currently available. In this study, commercially available anthraquinone dyes, in addition to other dye families and compounds, were reviewed for their unique properties, advantages, and drawbacks. The development and characterization of three novel anthraquinone fluorophores revealed promising photophysical characteristics, like large Stokes shifts. One of the compounds, RBS3, was chosen for fixed and live cell staining and exhibited desirable biomedical properties. RBS3 is highly cell permeable, appears to be photostable, does not require a wash-off procedure, and stains the nucleus, cytoplasm, and endoplasmic reticulum.