LightOx Paper: Cellular localisation of structurally diverse diphenylacetylene fluorophores

We are delighted to announce that our latest paper “Cellular localisation of structurally diverse diphenylacetylene fluorophores” has been published in Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry and is available to download right now.

This study captures work from the whole scientific team at LightOx and also includes help from our close partners at High Force Research, University College London and Durham University.

Cells are comprised of several components that often look very similar under a microscope. We use fluorescent probes to, quite literally, shine light on where these components are within a cell in order to understand their structure and function. In the early days of fluorescence microscopy, we employed fluorescent probes that stained the entire cell; this made it easier to view the structure of the whole cell, but it was still difficult to understand where certain components, such as the nucleus or mitochondria, were localised. Increasingly, scientists wish to utilise fluorescent probes that exhibit highly selective cellular localisation, i.e. they only localise to a specific cellular component, to be able to study that component in particular without interference from other areas in the cell.

Developing fluorescent probes that only localise to a specific cellular component is a major chemical design challenge, and the team at LightOx have often felt that there is a real lack of informative accounts in the scientific literature that can help guide this process. Hence, when developing our latest compounds, we decided to write a manuscript that not only showcased the capabilities of our next-generation fluorescent probes, but also highlighted the guiding design principles that we used to develop these compounds so that scientists can further understand their unique properties.

In this paper, we show that by modifying intrinsic chemical properties such as hydrophobicity, pH and charged groups, we can direct fluorescent probes to selectively localise to a range of cellular components.

LightOx compounds that selectively localise to lysosomes, to mitochondria, and to hydrophobic droplets are just some of the probes that we have developed using this approach, and throughout the paper we have demonstrated their additional unique properties, such as their pH sensitivity and their fluorescence characteristics that change according to the local environment. Hence, these are probes that have a diverse range of potential applications, and we are really excited to tell the world about them in this paper.

We hope you enjoy reading the paper and if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch at

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Cellular localisation of structurally diverse diphenylacetylene fluorophores

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