Despite the expanding use of flow cytometry, its detection limit is not satisfactory for many antigen proteins with low copy numbers. Herein, we describe an alkaline phosphatase (AP)-based technique to amplify the fluorescence signal for cell staining applications. We designed a fluorescent substrate that acquires membrane permeability upon dephosphorylation by AP. By using the substrate, the fluorescence signal of cells in flow cytometry could be successfully amplified to give a much stronger signal than the cells labeled using a conventional fluorophore-modified antibody.
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