Fluorescence and Confocal Imaging of Mammalian Cells using Conjugated Oligoelectrolytes with Phenylenevinylene Core

Logan Garner, Justyna Milczarek, Roza Pawlowska, Remigiusz Zurawinski, Beata Lukasik, Arkadiusz Chworos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus Citations


Over the last few years, considerable efforts are taken, in order to find a molecular fluorescent probe fulfilling their applicability requirements. Due to a good optical properties and affinity to biological structures conjugated oligoelectrolytes (COEs) can be considered as a promising dyes for application in fluorescence-based bioimaging. In this work, we synthetized COEs with phenylenevinylene core (PV-COEs) and applied as fluorescent membranous-specific probes. Cytotoxicity effects of each COE were probed on cancerous and non-cancerous cell types and little to no toxicity effects were observed at the high range of concentrations. The intensity of cell fluorescence following the COE staining was determined by the photoluminescence analysis and fluorescence activated cell sorting method (FACS). Intercalation of tested COEs into mammalian cell membranes was revealed by fluorescent and confocal microscopy colocalization with commercial dyes specific for cellular structures including mitochondria, Golgi apparatus and endoplasmic reticulum. The phenylenevinylene conjugated oligoelectrolytes have been found to be suitable for fluorescent bioimaging of mammalian cells and membrane-rich organelles. Due to their water solubility coupled with spontaneous intercalation into cells, favorable photophysical features, ease of cell staining, low cytotoxicity and selectivity for membranous structures, PV-COEs can be applied as markers for fluorescence imaging of a variety of cell types.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)40-48
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology
StatePublished - 2017

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5900-68397


  • cell imaging
  • conjugated oligoelectrolytes
  • cytotoxicity
  • fluorescence imaging
  • membrane stain


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