Many fluorescent probes are described as being fluorogeninc as an advantage for fluorescence microscopy but what does fluorogenic mean? Dictionary definitions state that it means generating fluorescence, but i've read somewhere that it involves switching the fluorescence on or off for super resolution microscopy. I just want to understand the exact meaning in this context. Thanks in advance for the help.

  • $\begingroup$ @BryanKrause Sorry bout that, check edits for clarification. thanks $\endgroup$ – J. Doe Jan 18 '17 at 20:42
  • $\begingroup$ @BryanKrause here's one example, albeit a poor one, "fluorogenicity provides a high signal-to-noise ratio" $\endgroup$ – J. Doe Jan 18 '17 at 20:52
  • $\begingroup$ @BryanKrause Thank you so much Bryan for the help. It's now clear to me what it means thanks to your explanation. $\endgroup$ – J. Doe Jan 18 '17 at 22:08
  • $\begingroup$ I summarized my comments into an answer and added some references for anyone else that stumbles across this. $\endgroup$ – Bryan Krause Jan 18 '17 at 22:18

The usage of "fluorogenic" is typically applied to probes that are not currently fluorescent but can be, typically by some enzyme action or other reaction. For example, see here, here, or here. Essentially they are precursors to the fluorescent molecules of interest.

As one example, you could get a higher signal to noise ratio if you only "activated" the fluorogenic compound in one area, perhaps inside cells vs in the extracellular space, for example, so you aren't dealing with stray light from that "unwanted" signal.


Shieh, P., Hangauer, M. J., & Bertozzi, C. R. (2012). Fluorogenic azidofluoresceins for biological imaging. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 134(42), 17428-17431.

Lukinavičius, G., Reymond, L., D'Este, E., Masharina, A., Göttfert, F., Ta, H., ... & Blaukopf, C. (2014). Fluorogenic probes for live-cell imaging of the cytoskeleton. Nature methods, 11(7), 731-733.

Friscourt, F., Fahrni, C. J., & Boons, G. J. (2012). A fluorogenic probe for the catalyst-free detection of azide-tagged molecules. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 134(45), 18809-18815.


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