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Cellular Stains Selection Guides

Find the right dye for your application

Compare applications, fixability, cellular targets, and staining in different organisms at a glance.

For more detailed information, see our Cellular Stains Technology Page and Membrane & Cell Surface Stains Comparison, or visit our Brochure Library to browse our product flyers.

Nuclear Stains

ProductStains live
cells
Fix after
staining
Permeabilize
after staining
Fix before
staining
Non-
cytotoxic
Color
(Ex/Em)1
Applications / Notes
DAPI
Hoechst 33342
Hoechst 33258
YesYesYesYesYesBlue
(352/461 nm)
• Classic blue nuclear stains
• No-wash, nontoxic, stable for several days
• Use DAPI in antifade mounting medium
NucSpot® Live 488YesYesYesYesYesGreen
(500/515 nm)
• Green nuclear stain for live or fixed cells
• No-wash, nontoxic for real-time imaging
NucSpot® 470Dead cell-
selective
NoNoYesYesGreen
(460/546 nm)
• No-wash green nuclear stain
• Dead-cell selective in unfixed cells
NucSpot® Live 650YesYesYesYesYesFar-red
(650/675 nm)
• Far-red nuclear stain for live or fixed cells
• No-wash, nontoxic for real-time imaging
RedDot™1 Far-Red Nuclear StainYesNoNoNo2NoFar-red
(662/694 nm)
• No wash, far-red nuclear stain
• Compare to Draq5™
• Endpoint only; toxic after several hours
RedDot™2 Far-Red Nuclear StainDead cell-
selective
NoNoYesYesFar-red
(650/675 nm)
• No-wash, far-red nuclear stain
• Dead cell-selective in unfixed cells
• Compare to Draq7™
Thiazole GreenYesNo2No2No2NoGreen
(497/520 nm)
• Structurally identical to SYBR® Green I
Cell-Membrane
Impermeant Nucleic Acid Dyes

Dead cell-
selective
NoNoNo2YesMultiple colors
Blue to Far-Red
• PI, EthDIII, dimeric cyanine dyes, etc.
• See Dead Cell & Apoptosis Stains
• Not nuclear-specific in fixed cells without RNase digestion
1 With DNA
2 Not nuclear-specific in fixed cells
SYBR is a registered trademark of Thermo Fisher Scientific

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Live Cell Stains

ProductLocalizationFix after
staining
Permeabilize
after staining
Fix before
staining
Non-
cytotoxic
Staining stability1ColorsApplications / Notes
DAPI
Hoechst 33342
Hoechst 33258
NucleusYesYesYesYesDaysBlue (352/461 nm)• No-wash, nontoxic, stable for several days
NucSpot® Live Nuclear StainsNucleusYesYesYesYesDaysGreen (500/515 nm)
Far-red (650/675 nm)
• No-wash, nontoxic for real-time imaging
Thiazole GreenNucleus and cytoplasmYesYesYesNo< 4 hoursGreen (497/520 nm)• Structurally identical to SYBR® Green I
• Very bright, no-wash staining of DNA
• Shows some mitochondrial & cytoplasmic staining
• Toxic after several hours
RedDot™1 Far-Red
Nuclear Stain
NucleusNoNoNoNo< 4 hoursFar-red (662/694 nm)• Compare to Draq5™
• Toxic after several hours
ViaFluor® Live Cell
Microtubule Stains
MicrotubulesNoNoNoPossibly
toxic
DaysBlue (408/452 nm)
Green (500/515 nm)
Far-red (650/675 nm)
• No-wash, live cell microtubule stains
• Low toxicity, stain for 48 hours or longer
ViaFluor® Live Cell
Microtubule Stains
MicrotubulesNoNoNoPossibly
toxic
DaysBlue (408/452 nm)
Green (500/515 nm)
Far-red (650/675 nm)
• No-wash, live cell microtubule stains
• Low toxicity, stain for 48 hours or longer
ViaFluor® SE Cell
Proliferation Dyes
Cell interiorYesYesNoYesDaysBlue (408/452 nm)
Green (493/532 nm)
• Stable, whole-cell labeling of live cells
• Non-toxic for tracking multiple cell divisions
• Excellent choice for cell tracing or co-cultures
Calcein-AMCell interior /
Cell viability
NoNoNoYes≤ 24 hGreen (494/517 nm)• Short-term, whole-cell labeling of live cells
• For cell viability or dye efflux assays
Acridine OrangeNucleus and CytoplasmYesYesYesPossibly
toxic
Depends
on cytotoxicity
Green ( DNA)
Red ( RNA)
• Membrane permeant nucleic acid dye
• Stains DNA green (Ex/Em 500/526 nm),
RNA red (Ex/Em 496/650 nm)
CellBrite™ Steady
Membrane Staining Kits
Membrane/
Cell Surface
NoNoNoYesDays5 Colors
Blue to Near-IR
• Image live cell surface for ≥24 hours
• Optional Enhancer masks intracellular signal
• Fast, even staining in complete medium
• STORM-compatible options
CellBrite™ Cytoplasmic
Membrane Dyes
Membranes3Yes2No2Yes2YesDays to
weeks3
8 Colors
Blue to Near-IR
• Lipophilic carbocyanine membrane dyes
• Fix before or after labeling2
• Stable & non-toxic for cell tracking3
CellBrite™ Fix
Membrane Stains
Membrane/
Cell Surface3
YesYesNoYesDays3Green (480/513 nm)
Red (542/571 nm)
Far-Red (638/667 nm)
• Covalent membrane labeling
• More uniform staining than lipophilic dyes
• Stain yeast and bacteria
MemBrite™ Fix
Cell Surface Stains
Cell surface3YesYesNoYesDays38 colors
Blue to Near-IR
• Covalent labeling of surface proteins
• Rapid, uniform cell surface staining
• STORM-compatible dye options
• Stain yeast and gram-positive bacteria
SynaptoGreen™ & SynaptoRed™
Nerve Terminal Dyes
VesiclesYes4Yes4NoYesMinutes
to hours
Green (~480/600 nm)
Red (~510/750 nm)
• Cationic styryl membrane dyes
• Track vesicle trafficking & release
• Dye options with fixable amine group
• Equivalent to FM® dyes
CF® Dye Cholera Toxin
Conjugates
Lipid raftsYesYesYesYes≤ 24 h6 colors
Green to Near-IR
• Binds GM1 ganglioside in lipid rafts
• For cell surface labeling or neuronal tracing
• Staining can be heterogeneous in cultured cells
CF® Dye Transferrin
Conjugates
Endocytic tracerYesYesNoYes≤ 24 h7 colors
Green to Near-IR
• Transferrin receptor ligand
• Traffics to recycling endosomes
CF® Dye DextransFluid phase tracerYesNoNoYes≤ 24 hWide selection
Green to Near-IR
• Fluid phase endocytosis & permeability tracers
• Range of molecular weights
WGA Conjugates
ConA Conjugates
PNA Conjugates
GlycoproteinsYesYesYesPossibly
toxic
≤ 24 hWide selection
UV to Near-IR
• Bind to cell surface glycoproteins3
• Binding/biological effects vary by cell type
• See Stains in Different Organisms for bacteria/yeast
• Wide choice of CF® dye colors
LipidSpot™ Lipid
Droplet Stains
Lipid droplets /
Neutral lipids
YesYesYesYes24 h
or longer
Green (427/585 nm)
Far-red (610/663 nm)
• No wash, live or fixed cell staining
• Tolerates permeabilization
LysoView™ DyesLysosomesNoNoNoYesDaysBlue, Green, Orange, Far-Red• No wash, live cell staining of lysosomes
MitoView™ DyesMitochondria/
Cell viability
No5NoNo5YesDaysBlue, Green, Far-Red, Near-IR• No wash, live cell staining of mitochondria
• MitoViewâ„¢ 633 is potential-dependent
JC-1 Mitochondrial Membrane Kit
JC-1, Iodide
JC-1, Chloride
Mitochondria/
Cell viability
NoNoNoYesDaysGreen (510/527 nm, cytoplasm),
Red (585/590 nm,
healthy mitochondria)
• No wash, live cell staining of mitochondria
• Measure mitochondrial potential/cell health
• Green fluorescence in cytoplasm, red fluorescence in polarized mitochondria
TMRM
TMRE
Mitochondria/
Cell viability
NoNoNoYesDaysRed (548/573 nm)• No wash, live cell staining of mitochondria
• Preferred dyes for quantitative mitochondrial membrane potential measurement
Annexin V
Conjugates
Apoptotic cell membranesYesNoNoYesDaysWide selection
UV to Near-IR
• Stain cell surface of apoptotic cells
• Washing is optional
• Azide-free options for real-time imaging
NucView® Caspase-3
Substrates
Apoptotic cell nucleiYesYesNoYesDaysBlue (429/469 nm)
Green (500/530 nm)
Orange (528/563 nm)
• Detect caspase-3 activity in intact cells
• No-wash assay for endpoint or real-time analysis
• NucView® 488 tested in >100 cell types & 200 papers
Cell-Membrane-
Impermeant
Nucleic Acid Dyes
Necrotic cells6NoNoNo6YesDaysWide selection
Green to Far-Red
• No wash staining for real-time imaging
• See Dead Cell & Apoptosis Stains
1 Stability of staining is a general guideline only, actual stability may depend on cell type/experimental system.
2 Formaldehyde fixation only, dyes do not tolerate alcohol/solvent treatment; dyes have poor tolerance for detergent, but cells can be stained after fixation/permeabilization with good results.
3 Surface staining is internalized by endocytosis, becoming mostly intracellular after several hours.
4 Dye options with formaldehyde-fixable amine groups; can be used with a low-detergent permeabilization protocol.
5 Cells can be fixed before or after MitoView™ Green staining, but dye localization will not be as specific as in live cells. We recommend mitochondrial marker antibodies for fixed cell staining.
6 Necrotic cell stains also stain late apoptotic cells with leaky membranes; staining is not dead cell-selective in fixed samples.

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Stains for Fixed Cells or Tissue Sections

ProductTargetAlso stains
live cells?
Color (Ex/Em)Applications / Notes
Phalloidin ConjugatesF-actinNoWide selection
UV to Near-IR
• Widely used stain for actin filaments
• Formaldehyde-fixation only (no methanol fixation)
CF® Dye α-Bungarotoxin ConjugatesNicotinic acetylcholine receptorYesWide selection
UV to Near-IR
• Labels neuromuscular junctions
CellBrite™ Cytoplasmic Membrane Dyes
CellBrite™ NIR Cytoplasmic Membrane Stains
Cell MembraneYes8 colors
Blue to Near-IR
• Lipophilic dyes for stable, non-toxic membrane labeling
• Fix before or after labeling1
CF® Dye WGA Conjugates
CF® Dye ConA Conjugates
CF® Dye PNA Conjugates
GlycoproteinsYesWide selection
UV to Near-IR
• Bind to cell surface glycoproteins
• May stain intracellular targets in permeabilized cells
• Staining is tissue- and cell-type dependent
CF® Dye Cholera Toxin ConjugatesGM1 ganglioside in lipid raftsYes6 colors
Green to Near-IR
• For cell surface labeling or neuronal tracing
• Expression/staining can be heterogeneous in cultured cells
LipidSpot™ Lipid Droplet StainsLipid droplets /
Neutral lipids
YesGreen (427/585 nm) and
Far-red (610/663 nm
in vegetable oil,
~592/638 nm in cells)
• Stain before or after fixation
• Tolerates permeabilization after fixation
Organelle marker antibodiesMitochondria, nuclear envelope,
nucleoli, Golgi and more
NoWide selection
Blue to Near-IR
• Best options for fixed cell organelle staining
MitoView™ GreenMitochondriaYesGreen• Can be used if suitable mitochondria antibody not available
• Staining not as specific as in live cells
1 Formaldehyde fixation only, dyes do not tolerate alcohol/solvent treatment; dyes have poor tolerance for detergent, but cells can be stained after fixation/permeabilization with good results.

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Dead Cell & Apoptosis Stains

ProductTargetNuclear-
specific
Fix
after staining
Permeabilize
after staining
Color (Ex/Em)Applications / Notes
Oxazole BlueNecrotic cells1
Cell-impermeant DNA/RNA dye
NoNoNoBlue (435/455 nm)2• Cell-impermant monomeric nucleic acid dye
• Equivalent to PO-PRO™-1
NucView® Caspase-3 SubstratesApoptotic cells
Caspase activity
YesYesYesBlue (429/469 nm)2
Green (500/530 nm)2
Orange (528/563 nm)2
• Detect caspase-3 activity in intact cells
• No-wash assay for endpoint assay or real-time analysis
• NucView® 488 validated in >100 cell types & 200 papers
CF® Dye Annexin ConjugatesApoptotic cells
Phosphatidylserine
NoYesNoWide selection
UV to Near-IR
• Annexin V with CF® dyes & other labels
• Available preservative-free for real-time cell imaging
Live-or-Dye™ Fixable Viability StainsNecrotic cells1
Cell-impermeant reactive dyes
NoYesYes8 Colors
UV to Near-IR
• Covalent labeling of dead cell cytoplasm
• Excellent tolerance for fixation/permeabilization
• Wash required after staining
NucSpot® 470, 1000X in DMSONecrotic cells1
Cell-impermeant DNA dye
YesNoNoGreen (460/546 nm)2• Green nuclear counterstain or dead cell stain
• No-wash staining, compatible with real-time imaging
Oxazole YellowEarly apoptotic cells
Cell-impermeant DNA/RNA dye
NoNoNoGreen (491/509 nm)2• Equivalent to YO-PRO®-1 Iodide
• Reported to selectively stain early apoptotic cells
• No-wash staining, compatible with real-time imaging
TO IodideNecrotic cells1
Cell-impermeant DNA/RNA dye
NoNoNoGreen (515/531 nm)2• Equivalent to TO-PRO®-1 Iodide
• No-wash staining, compatible with real-time imaging
Thiazole Orange HomodimerNecrotic cells1
Cell-impermeant DNA/RNA dye
NoNoNoGreen (514/533 nm)2• High-affinity dimeric cyanine DNA/RNA dye
• Equivalent to TOTO®-1 Iodide
• No-wash staining, compatible with real-time imaging
PathoGreen™ Histofluorescent StainDegenerating neuronsNoN/AN/AGreen (497/520 nm)• For fixed neuronal cells/tissue sections
CF® Dye TUNEL AssayApoptotic cells
DNA strand breaks
YesN/AN/AGreen (490/515 nm)
Red (593/614 nm)
Far-red (642/662 nm)
• Label dsDNA breaks with bright, photostable CF® dyes
• For fixed cells or tissue sections
Live-or-Dye NucFix™ RedNecrotic cells1
Cell-impermeant DNA/RNA dye
Yes3YesYesRed (520/610 nm)2• Covalent, red fluorescent dead cell nuclear stain
• The only fixable dead cell nuclear stain
• Wash after staining required
Ethidium Homodimer IIINecrotic cells1
Cell-impermeant DNA/RNA dye
NoNoNoRed (530/620 nm)2• Developed at Biotium as an alternative to EthDI
• 45% brighter than EthDI when bound to DNA
Ethidium Homodimer INecrotic cells1
Cell-impermeant DNA/RNA dye
NoNoNoRed (528/616 nm)2• High-affinity membrane-impermeant DNA/RNA stain
• >30-fold fluorescence enhancement upon binding DNA
Propidium IodideNecrotic cells1
Cell-impermeant DNA/RNA dye
NoNoNoRed (535/617 nm)2• Can be excited at 488 nm for the PE channel
• Useful for cell cycle analysis in fixed cells (with RNase)
RedDot™ Far-Red Nuclear StainNecrotic cells1
Cell-impermeant DNA/RNA dye
YesNoNoFar-red (662/694 nm)2• Far-red nuclear counterstain or dead cell stain
• Compare to Draq7™
• No-wash staining, compatible with real-time imaging
Thiazole Red HomodimerNecrotic cells1
Cell-impermeant DNA/RNA dye
NoNoNoFar-red (642/660 nm)2• High-affinity dimeric cyanine DNA/RNA dye
• Equivalent to TOTO®-3 Iodide
• No-wash staining, compatible with real-time imaging
Thiazole RedNecrotic cells1
Cell-impermeant DNA/RNA dye
NoNoNoFar-red (642/661 nm)2• Equivalent to TO-PRO®-1 Iodide
• No-wash staining, compatible with real-time imaging
7-AADNecrotic cells1
Cell-impermeant DNA/RNA dye
NoNoNoFar-Red (546/647 nm)2• Far-red dye for the PE-Cy®5 flow cytometry channel
• Can be excited by the 488 nm or 532 nm laser line
• Useful for cell cycle analysis in fixed cells
NucSpot® Far-RedNecrotic cells1
Cell-impermeant DNA/RNA dye
NoNoNoFar-Red (597/667 nm)2• Designed as improved replacement for 7-AAD
• For flow cytometry in the PE-Cy®5 or APC channel
• Less bleed into the PE-Texas Red® channel
1 Necrotic cell stains also stain late apoptotic cells with leaky cell membranes.
2 With DNA.
2 Not nuclear-specific in yeast.
Cy Dye is a registered trademark of GE Healthcare; TOTO, TO-PRO, PO-PRO, and YO-PRO are trademarks or registered trademarks of Thermo Fisher Scientific; Draq5 and Draq7 are trademarks of Biostatus, Ltd.

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Stains for Spheroids, 3D Cultures, or Matrigel® Cultures

ProductTargetFixable?Tolerates optical
clearing?
Applications / Notes
Hoechst 33342
Hoechst 33258
All cell nucleiYesYes• See Nuclear Stains
CellBrite™ Cytoplasmic
Membrane Dyes
Cell membranesYes1No• Lipophilic carbocyanine dye have been used for labeling cells before or after spheroid formation
• See Live Cell Stains
MitoView™ DyesMitochondriaNoNo• See Live Cell Stains
NucView® 488
Caspase-3 Substrate
Apoptotic cellsYesYes• See Dead Cell & Apoptosis Stains
Calcein-AMViable cells
(whole cell interior)
NoNo• Commonly used to stain cells in Matrigel® or spheroids
• See Live Cell Stains
Cell-Membrane
Impermeant Nucleic Acid Dyes
Necrotic cells2NoNo• See Dead Cell & Apoptosis Stains
ViaFluor® SE Cell
Proliferation Dyes
Whole cell interiorYesYes• Can be used to label cells before seeding in Matrigel® or spheroids
• See Live Cell Stains
1 Formaldehyde fixation only, dyes do not tolerate alcohol/solvent treatment; dyes have poor tolerance for detergent, but cells can be stained after fixation/permeabilization with good results.
2 Necrotic cell stains also stain late apoptotic cells with leaky membranes; staining is not dead cell-selective in fixed samples.
Matrigel is a registered trademark of Corning, Inc.

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Cellular Stains in Different Organisms

LocalizationProductMammalian
Cells
YeastGram+
Bacteria
Gram-
Bacteria
Notes / Applications
Cell Surface CellBrite™ Cytoplasmic Membrane DyesYesNoNoNo• See Live Cell Stains
• See Stains for Fixed Cells & Tissue Sections
CellBrite™ Fix Membrane StainsYesYesYesYes• See Live Cell Stains
MemBrite™ Fix Membrane StainsYesYesYesNo• See Live Cell Stains
SynaptoGreen™ C4 (FM®1-43)YesYes1YesYes• See Live Cell Stains
SynaptoRed™ C2 (FM®4-64)YesYes1YesYes• See Live Cell Stains
CF® Dye WGA ConjugatesYesYes2YesNo• See Live Cell Stains
• See Stains for Fixed Cells & Tissue Sections
CF® Dye ConA ConjugatesYesYesNoNo• See Live Cell Stains
• See Stains for Fixed Cells & Tissue Sections
Calcofluor WhiteNoYesYesNo• See Nuclear Stains
DNA HoechstYesNo3YesYes• See Nuclear Stains
DAPIYesNo3YesYes• See Nuclear Stains
NucSpot® Live Cell Nuclear StainsYesNoYesNo• See Nuclear Stains
RedDot™1 Far-Red Nuclear StainYesYes4YesYes• See Nuclear Stains
DMAOYes4No3YesYes• Green fluorescent nucleic acid dye for live bacteria
BactoView™ Live GreenYesNo3YesYes• Green and red fluorescent nucleic acid dyes for live & dead bacteria
BactoView™ Live RedNo3No3YesYes• See Nuclear Stains
Thiazole OrangeYes5YesYesYes• See Nuclear Stains
Dead Cells

(Yes indicates
dead cell
selectivity)
Propidium IodideYesYesYesYes• See Nuclear Stains
Ethidium Homodimer I (EthD-I)YesYesYesYes• See Nuclear Stains
Ethidium Homodimer III (EthD-III)YesYesYesYes• See Nuclear Stains
RedDot™2YesYesYesYes• See Nuclear Stains
Live-or-Dye™ NucFix RedYesYes6No7Yes• See Nuclear Stains
Live-or-Dye™ Fixable Viability StainsYesYesYesYes• See Nuclear Stains
NucSpot® 470YesYesNo7Yes• See Nuclear Stains
Cytoplasm ViaFluor® 405 SE Cell Proliferation DyeYesNo8YesNo• See Live Cell Stains
ViaFluor® 488 SE Cell Proliferation DyeYesNo8YesNo• See Live Cell Stains
ViaFluor® CFSE Cell Proliferation DyeYesYesYesNo• See Live Cell Stains
Intracellular
Structures
MitoView™ 405YesYesYesYes• See Live Cell Stains
MitoView™ GreenYesYesYesYes• See Live Cell Stains
MitoView™ 633YesYesYesYes• See Live Cell Stains
MitoView™ 650YesYesYesYes• See Live Cell Stains
MitoView™ 720YesYesYesYes• See Live Cell Stains
LysoView™ 405YesNo9YesYes• See Live Cell Stains
LysoView™ 488YesNoYesNo• See Live Cell Stains
LysoView™ 540YesYesNoNo• See Live Cell Stains
LysoView™ 633YesYesNoNo• See Live Cell Stains
LysoView™ 650YesNoNoNo• See Live Cell Stains
LipidSpot™ 488 Lipid Droplet StainYesYesYesNo• See Live Cell Stains
LipidSpot™ 610 Lipid Droplet StainYesNoYesNo• See Live Cell Stains
Phalloidin ConjugatesYesYesNoNo• See Stains for Fixed Cells & Tissue Sections
ViaFluor® Live Cell Microtubule StainsYesNo10No10No10• See Live Cell Stains
ViaVac™ Red/GreenNoYesNDND• Stains vacuoles in healthy yeast red; stains cytoplasm of all yeast green
• Equivalent to FUN®1
1 Internalizes to vacuolar membranes
2 Stains bud scars of budding yeast
3 Weak staining and not nuclear
4 Staining is not nuclear
5 Initially stains mitochondria, then redistributes to nucleus & cytoplasm
6 Dead cell specific but not nuclear
7 Stains live and dead cells
8 Not cytoplasmic, stains cell periphery
9 Staining is not lysosomal
10 Not predicted to bind yeast/bacteria cytoskeleton
FUN1 is a registered trademark of Thermo Fisher Scientific

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Faq

CellBrite™ & MemBrite™ Membrane & Cell Surface Stains

CellBrite™ Cytoplasmic Membrane Stains are lipophilic dyes for simple, non-toxic, stable labeling of membranes in live or fixed cells. Cells can be fixed with formaldehyde before or after CellBrite™ staining. But the staining has poor tolerance for permeabilization or methanol fixation, so CellBrite™ staining is not easily combined with intracellular immunofluorescence (IF) staining. The dyes also do not stain bacteria or yeast. CellBrite™ NIR dyes are CellBrite™ dyes with near-infrared fluorescence compatible with small animal NIR imaging systems. CellBrite™ Fix and MemBrite™ Fix stains were developed to overcome some of these shortcomings. They are novel covalent stains that can be fixed and permeabilized for IF staining. CellBrite™ Fix Membrane Stains are fluorogenic reactive membrane dyes that rapidly accumulate at the plasma membrane. When they incorporate into lipids, they become fluorescent, and at the same time react covalently with membrane proteins for stable labeling. Staining takes only 15 minutes in a single step with no wash. CellBrite™ Fix stains mammalian cells, yeast, and bacteria. MemBrite™ Fix Cell Surface Stains do not bind lipids, but label cell surface proteins. MemBrite™ Fix requires a two-step staining protocol with washing, but offers a more extensive choice of dye colors than CellBrite™ Fix. MemBrite™ Fix also can be used to stain yeast. But unlike original CellBrite™ dyes and lectins, CellBrite™ Fix and MemBrite™ Fix cannot be used on cells that are already fixed. To select a dye that’s right for your application, see our Membrane and Cell Surface Stains Comparison, or download our Membrane & Surface Stains Brochure.

Category: CellBrite™ & MemBrite™ Membrane & Cell Surface Stains

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Biotium’s CellBrite™ Cytoplasmic Membrane Dyes are dye delivery solutions that can be added directly to normal culture media to uniformly label suspended or adherent cells in culture. The PKH dyes are structurally related dyes for cell membrane labeling. But unlike CellBrite™, labeling with PKH dyes requires multiple steps and subjects cells to an iso-osmotic mannitol loading medium that can negatively affect cell membrane integrity and viability. CellBrite™ Fix dyes also feature rapid and simple labeling in isotonic buffer. Cells can be fixed and permeabilized after labeling with CellBrite™ Fix, unlike original CellBrite™ dyes or PKH dyes, which don’t tolerate detergent.

Category: CellBrite™ & MemBrite™ Membrane & Cell Surface Stains

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DiI (DiIC18(3); 1,1′-dioctadecyl-3,3,3′,3′-tetramethylindocarbocyanine) is a widely used lipophilic carbocyanine dye that labels cell membranes by inserting its two long (C18) hydrocarbon chains into the lipid bilayer. It has been extensively used for the antero- and retro-grade labeling of neurons. Neuro-DiI (also available as a ready-to-use staining solution, CellBrite™ Green) was developed by Biotium as an alternative to DiI. It has two additional t-butyl groups (one on each side of the dye) attached to the dye chromophore which introduce structural flexibility in the dye making it much more soluble in both organic solvents and in cell membranes. Improved dye solubility in the membranes enables rapid dispersion of the dye molecules, away from each other much more rapidly than regular DiI which has a relatively flat structure that promotes dye aggregation, and slows down dispersion of dye molecules. Neuro-DiI therefore results in more uniform, rapid and stable staining as compared to DiI. FAST™ DiI uses a different strategy to solubilize the dye. Replacing the saturated C18 lipophilic chain of regular DiI with unsaturated linoleyl chains gives the dye molecules a bent structure, making them less likely to aggregate and thus disperse faster in the membrane. Both Neuro-DiI and FAST™ DiI would diffuse faster than regular DiI in membranes, but a comparison of the relative diffusion rate between the two dyes has not been made. Neuro-DiI may have a potential advantage over FAST™ DiI. The t-butyl groups of Neuro-DiI render it more hydrophobic than FAST™ DiI, likely resulting in more stable membrane staining and make dye transfer between cells less likely.  
FAST DiI is a trademark of Thermo Fisher Scientific.

Category: CellBrite™ & MemBrite™ Membrane & Cell Surface Stains

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Microbiology: Dyes for bacteria and yeast

Fixation is not recommended after staining with the Viability/Cytotoxicity Assay Kit (cat. # 30027) as the dead cell dye, EthD-III will transfer to all cells and not maintain dead cell-specific staining. Our Live-or-Dye™ NucFix™ Red (cat. # 32010) is a formaldehyde-fixable dead cell dye that can be used in bacteria. Viability qPCR (vPCR) can be an alternative strategy for quantitating live and dead bacteria. Using dead cell-specific dyes, PMA (cat. # 40019) or PMAxx (cat. # 40069) that covalently modify DNA (of only dead cells) after photo-crosslinking, a simple quantitative PCR (qPCR) amplification is used to selectively amplify live-cell DNA. Learn more about the vPCR technology.

Category: Apoptosis, Necrosis, and Cell Viability Kits, Microbiology: Dyes for bacteria and yeast

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The CellBrite™ Cytoplasmic Membrane Dyes do not stain bacteria. The reactive CellBrite™ Fix dyes stain both gram positive and negative bacteria, while the MemBrite™ Fix dyes stain only gram positive bacteria, however we have not tested these dyes for cell division tracking in bacteria. There is literature describing the use of CFSE to track bacterial cell division,  the ViaFluor® SE cell proliferation dyes are likely to work in a similar manner, but we have not tested this. See our Cellular Stains Table for a comprehensive list of cellular stains with their ability to stain various cell types.

Category: CellBrite™ & MemBrite™ Membrane & Cell Surface Stains, Microbiology: Dyes for bacteria and yeast

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Organelle & Cytoskeleton Stains

Most of our MitoView™ dyes are sensitive to mitochondrial membrane potential, and therefore can be used in live cells only. MitoView™ Green is relatively insensitive to mitochondrial membrane potential, and can be used to stain formaldehyde-fixed cells (for best results, we recommend first fixing, then staining). MitoView™ Green does not stain well with samples that are fixed with methanol, permeabilized with detergent, or paraffin embedded. For best results staining mitochondria in fixed cells or tissue sections, we recommend using one our Mitochondrial Marker Antibodies, available with a wide selection of bright and photostable CF® dyes and other conjugations.

Category: Organelle & Cytoskeleton Stains

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ViaFluor® Live Cell Microtubule Stains are cell-permeable taxol probes for imaging the microtubule cytoskeleton in live mammalian cells. We do not have permeability data for these probes to the plant cell wall. Based on literature, plant tubulin binds taxol weakly as compared to animal tubulin, so staining may be weak or non-existent. We do offer low-cost trial sizes for evaluation.

Category: Organelle & Cytoskeleton Stains

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Intracellular lipid droplets are cytoplasmic organelles involved in the storage and regulation of lipids. The LipidSpot™ Lipid Droplet Stains are fluorogenic neutral lipid stains that rapidly accumulate in lipid droplets. They become brightly fluorescent in the presence of neutral lipids like triglycerides and cholesterol esters.

Category: Organelle & Cytoskeleton Stains

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