Biologists use fluorescent dyes to stain and image biological tissues using specialized microscopes. Luke Lavis’s group at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Research Campus recently came up with a new, milder synthesis for rhodamines, a popular class of dyes, using a palladium catalyst (Nat. Methods. 2017, DOI: 10.1038/nmeth.4403). With this new method, they were able to prepare rhodamines decorated with four-membered azetidine rings, which boost the efficiency of the dyes’ fluorescence. By changing the functional groups at the end of the azetidine rings, they can tune the color at which the dyes glow, opening up a range of applications for the compounds.
Submitted by Chad Binns (vials)/Nat. Methods (structures)
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