Lessons from lobster coloration and the chemistry of vision suggested an approach to responsive fluorescent probes that can sense membrane potential, fluidity, and tension. Fluorophore deplanarization by lateral crowding along the scaffold (red circles) and fluorophore polarization by terminal donors (D), acceptors (A), and charges (+) are coupled to provide such membrane probes, as studies with unilamellar vesicles of phospholipids (DOPC, DPPC) show.
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