Manipulating the fluorescence lifetime at the sub-cellular scale via photo-switchable barcoding

Yujie Xie, Maria C. Arno, Jonathan T. Husband, Miquel Torrent-Sucarrat, Rachel K. O’Reilly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Citations (SciVal)


Fluorescent barcoding is a pivotal technique for the investigation of the microscale world, from information storage to the monitoring of dynamic biochemical processes. Using fluorescence lifetime as the readout modality offers more reproducible and quantitative outputs compared to conventional fluorescent barcoding, being independent of sample concentration and measurement methods. However, the use of fluorescence lifetime in this area has been limited by the lack of strategies that provide spatiotemporal manipulation of the coding process. In this study, we design a two-component photo-switchable nanogel that exhibits variable fluorescence lifetime upon photoisomerization-induced energy transfer processes through light irradiation. This remotely manipulated fluorescence lifetime property could be visually mapped using fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM), allowing selective storage and display of information at the microscale. Most importantly, the reversibility of this system further provides a strategy for minimizing the background influence in fluorescence lifetime imaging of live cells and sub-cellular organelles.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2460
Number of pages1
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2020

Bibliographical note

This work was supported by the ERC (grant number 615142), EPSRC, and the University of Birmingham, the Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (MINECO) of Spain (project CTQ2016-80375-P) and the Basque Government (grant IT-324-07). The authors acknowledge the computational and technical and human support provided by DIPC. Y.X. acknowledges Chancellor’s International Scholarship (University of Warwick) for funding.


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