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New photostable fluorophore (BI) for Spinach technology is now available


Today, Lucerna announced the launch of the newest member in its fluorophore product line, DFHBI-BI or BI. A derivative of DFHBI, BI is the first photostable green fluorophore in the Spinach™ technology that allows single molecule imaging of RNA in live cells.


“We are excited to introduce BI, which was developed to address the highly difficult problem of fluorescently visualizing one copy of RNA transcript in the cells.” said Dr. Karen Wu, President at Lucerna. “Traditional methods relied on labeling a mRNA transcript with many large fluorescent proteins, which can potentially alter the fate of the mRNA in the cell. Further, unlike the MS2-GFP system, BI allows us to image nuclear non-coding RNA and track mRNA from birth. This fluorophore really raises the bar on the cellular imaging capability of the Spinach™ technology.”


The BI fluorophore came out of the laboratory of Dr, Samie Jaffrey at Weill-Cornell University, also the the inventor of the Spinach™ technology and a Lucerna Scientific Board member. Instead of using traditional selection methods, scientists in the Jaffrey lab used structure-guided designs to identify novel fluorophores that can better fit inside Spinach’s DFHBI-binding pocket. This strategy yielded BI that overcame the previous photobleaching issues of DFHBI. Features of BI include:


  • Unprecedented binding affinity to Spinach/Broccoli
  • Suppressed the thermal denaturing of Broccoli in mammalian cells
  • Impaired light-induced photoisomerization
  • Single-molecule fluorescent properties are consistent with the MS2 system


Fluorophore-promoted RNA folding and photostability enable imaging of single Broccoli-tagged mRNAs in living mammalian cells.  Angewandte Chemie.  December 18, 2019. LINK


With its single-molecule capability, BI now allows the dynamic characterization of any Broccoli-tagged mRNA transcript or therapeutic RNA drugs in living cells.  In addition, the Spinach™ technology can be applied to study many emerging therapeutic targets, such as toxic RNA repeats, mis-spliced transcripts, circular RNA, oncogenic RNA-protein interactions, and more.


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About Lucerna

Lucerna, Inc. aims to be the industry leader in the development of RNA-based research and drug discovery reagents. Its motto of “making all RNA visible and druggable” reflects Lucerna’s mission to develop plug-and-play products that allow better imaging and detection of RNA, and high-throughput screening platforms that enable new drug discovery of previous intractable RNA targets. Based on exclusive worldwide rights to groundbreaking research from the laboratory of Samie R. Jaffrey, M.D., Ph.D., at Weill-Cornell University, Lucerna has generated a collection of intellectual property, know-how, and trade secrets to strengthen its market position in this newly burgeoning RNA field. Through innovation and alliances, Lucerna plans to expand its product offerings into areas related to RNA-targeted therapeutics, epitranscriptomics, biomarker detection, and single-cell analysis. Lucerna is a privately held company headquartered in Brooklyn, NY. For more information about Lucerna, please visit



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