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A Two-Photon Fluorescent Probe for Lipid Raft Imaging: C-Laurdan



The lipid-rafts hypothesis proposes that naturally occurring lipid aggregates exist in the plane of membrane that are involved in signal transduction, protein sorting, and membrane transport. To understand their roles in cell biology, a direct visualization of such domains in living cells is essential. For this purpose, 6-dodecanoyl-2-(dimethylamino)naphthalene (laurdan), a membrane probe that is sensitive to the polarity of the membrane, has often been used. We have synthesized and characterized 6-dodecanoyl-2-[N-methyl-N-(carboxymethyl)amino]naphthalene (C-laurdan), which has the advantages of greater sensitivity to the membrane polarity, a brighter two-photon fluorescence image, and reflecting the cell environment more accurately than laurdan. Lipid rafts can be visualized by two-photon microscopy by using C-laurdan as a probe. Our results show that the lipid rafts cover 38 % of the cell surface.