FM 1-43 is an excellent reagent both for identifying actively firing neurons and for investigating the mechanisms of activity-dependent vesicle cycling. This water-soluble dye, which is nontoxic to cells and virtually nonfluorescent in aqueous medium, is believed to insert into the outer leaflet of the cell membrane where it becomes intensely fluorescent. In a neuron that is actively releasing neurotransmitters, the dye becomes internalized within the recycled synaptic vesicles and the nerve terminals become brightly stained. The nonspecific staining of cell-surface membranes can simply be washed off prior to viewing.
FM 1-43 membrane probe is also available as 1mg packaged into 10 vials, each containing 100μg (T-35356). FM 1-43FX membrane probe (F-35355), an analog of FM 1-43 membrane probe that can be fixed in place using aldehyde-based fixatives, is also available.