Is Alexa Fluor 488 a FITC?

Is Alexa Fluor 488 a FITC?

No, Alexa Fluor 488 is not FITC, but they are related in the context of fluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry. Both are fluorescent dyes used for labeling proteins, nucleic acids, and other molecules for fluorescent detection. However, they have distinct chemical structures and properties.

Comparison of Alexa Fluor 488 and FITC

Property Alexa Fluor 488 FITC (Fluorescein Isothiocyanate)
Chemical Structure Complex, designed for improved performance Simpler, traditional dye
Excitation/Emission Maxima (nm) ~495/519 ~495/520
Stability High photostability Lower photostability compared to Alexa Fluor dyes
Use Cases Highly suitable for applications requiring prolonged illumination and observation Widely used, but may fade faster under intense or prolonged illumination
Compatibility Compatible with a wide range of instruments Compatible with instruments that have FITC settings

While Alexa Fluor 488 and FITC have similar excitation and emission spectra, making them interchangeable for some applications, Alexa Fluor 488 is often preferred for its greater photostability and brightness. This makes it particularly useful for applications where the fluorescent signal needs to be observed over a longer period or with higher intensity without significant fading.

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