Multi-color cell imaging reagents

by Brian Carpenter

Cellular imaging is a useful application for any scientist irrespective of whether they are studying the complex cellular mechanisms of normal or disease states. With the on-going journey of the post-genomic era and the advancement of science, it has become apparent that proteins rarely operate in isolation but function within multi-subunit complexes.  It has therefore become essential for scientists to study proteins in their multi-component state rather than individually.

Without the right set of tools, multi-color imaging can be extremely difficult, for instance cross species reactivity when using primary and secondary antibodies, and/or challenges in sourcing appropriately labeled primary antibodies.

To assist researchers to discover more during multi-color imaging we provide a range of research tools which have been designed to overcome the issues highlighted above.

Tools for staining cellular organelles

Ideal for staining subcellular compartments - offering an easy to use method, just prepare your cells, add the dye, incubate and then analyze.

Cellular organelleProduct
Actin filaments

CytoPainter F-actin available in blue, green, orange, and red.

Endoplasmic reticulumCytoPainter ER - available in green and red.
GolgiCytoPainter Golgi
LysosomesCytoPainter lysosomal

CyTRAK Orange™



Other nuclear stains
MitochondriaCytoPainter mitochondrial staining kit

Image: courtesy of Dr Shaohua Li, UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

Sample - mouse embryonic stem cell-differentiated embryoid bodies (EBs).

Blue - F actin was stained with CytoPainter (ab112124).

Red - nuclei counter stained with DRAQ7™ (ab109202).

Green - primary antibodiy rabbit anti-laminin alpha.  Secondary antibody goat anti-rabbit IgG H&L FITC (ab97050).

Alexa Fluor® secondary antibodies ideal for multiplexing

Our Alexa Fluor® conjugated secondary antibodies are high quality reagents that are extensively tested to help ensure bright staining and low background.  Furthermore, a large range of pre-adsorbed antibodies ensures low species cross reactivity, making them ideal for multi-color cell imaging.

Image: courtesy of Dr. Shaohua Li, UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical school.

Sample - mouse embryonic stem cell-differentiated embryoid bodies (EBs).

Green staining - primary antibody rabbit anti-laminin.  Secondary antibody goat anti-rabbit IgG - H&L (Alexa Fluor® 488) pre-adsorbed (ab150081).

Red staining - primary antibody mouse anti-disabled 2.  Secondary antibody goat anti-mouse IgG - H&L (Alexa Fluor® 594) pre-adsorbed (ab150120).

Blue staining - nuclei counter stained with DAPI.

Antibody conjugation kits for direct labeling

Sometimes a situation cannot be avoided whereby two antibodies raised in the same host are required for multi-color analysis.  Obviously, under this scenario, if a secondary antibody is used you will be unable to differentiate between the two primary antibodies.  To overcome this issue we provide antibody labeling kits which allow you to label your primary with a fluorescent probe directly (dyes are available covering the whole of the spectrum from the UV to the far infrared).  The kits are extremely easy to use, requiring only 30 seconds hands on time.

Preserving fluorescence

A challenge you are likely to face when using immunofluorescence to image cells is a loss of fluorescence over prolonged storage.  This issue can be easily overcome using our fluoroshield mounting media, an aqueous mounting medium for preserving fluorescence and preventing rapid photobleaching of dyes. 

Alexa Fluor® is a registered trademark of Life Technologies.  Alexa Fluor® dye conjugates contain(s) technology licensed to Abcam by Life Technologies.