What biologists want from their chloride reporters - A conversation between chemists and biologists

Matthew Zajac, Kasturi Chakraborty, Sonali Saha, Vivek Mahadevan, Daniel T. Infield, Alessio Accardi, Zhaozhu Qiu, Yamuna Krishnan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Impaired chloride transport affects diverse processes ranging from neuron excitability to water secretion, which underlie epilepsy and cystic fibrosis, respectively. The ability to image chloride fluxes with fluorescent probes has been essential for the investigation of the roles of chloride channels and transporters in health and disease. Therefore, developing effective fluorescent chloride reporters is critical to characterizing chloride transporters and discovering new ones. However, each chloride channel or transporter has a unique functional context that demands a suite of chloride probes with appropriate sensing characteristics. This Review seeks to juxtapose the biology of chloride transport with the chemistries underlying chloride sensors by exploring the various biological roles of chloride and highlighting the insights delivered by studies using chloride reporters. We then delineate the evolution of small-molecule sensors and genetically encoded chloride reporters. Finally, we analyze discussions with chloride biologists to identify the advantages and limitations of sensors in each biological context, as well as to recognize the key design challenges that must be overcome for developing the next generation of chloride sensors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberjcs240390
JournalJournal of cell science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020


  • Channel
  • Chloride
  • Epithelial secretion
  • Fluorescent reporter
  • Lysosome function
  • Neuronal signaling
  • Transporter
  • probe

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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