Product overview

Description Blue fluorescent DNA stain. Nuclear counterstain.
Biological description


DAPI is a blue fluorescent DNA stain which is cell permeant at high concentrations.

DAPI binds strongly to A-T rich regions in DNA to form a fluorescent complex. It preferentially stains ds-DNA and has a high quantum yield (φf=0.92) when bound to DNA.

Uses and applications

DAPI is commonly used as a nuclear and chromosome counterstain.

It is preferentially used to stain dead cells. DAPI is less effective as a live cell stain as it is unable to efficiently pass through the membrane in live cells. Therefore, higher concentrations may need to be used.

Cells must be permeabilized and/or fixed for DAPI to enter the cell and bind to DNA.

Due to DAPI’s blue emission, there is very little fluorescent overlap between yellow-fluorescent, green-florescent molecules (e,g, fluorescein and GFP) or red-fluorescent stains (e.g. Texas red). It is therefore convenient for multiplexing assays.

DAPI has a great variety of applications but is often used for cell imaging, cell counting, cell sorting (based on DNA content), apoptosis analysis and in HCA (high-content analysis).

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Solubility & Handling

Storage instructions -20°C
Solubility overview Soluble in water (10mg/ml, gentle warming), and in methanol
Important This product is for RESEARCH USE ONLY and is not intended for therapeutic or diagnostic use. Not for human or veterinary use.



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Chemical Data

Chemical name 4',6-Diamidino-2-phenylindole dihydrochloride
Molecular Weight 350.24
Chemical structure Product image
Molecular Formula C16H15N5.2HCl
CAS Number 28718-90-3
PubChem identifier 160166
SMILES C1=CC(=CC=C1C2=CC3=C(N2)C=C(C=C3)C(=N)N)C(=N)N.Cl.Cl
MDL number MFCD00012681
Excitation 340 / 360nM (for ds-DNA)
Emission 488 / 460nM (for ds-DNA)

References for DAPI

References are publications that support the biological activity of the product
  • DAPI: a DNA-specific fluorescent probe.

    Kapuscinski J (1995) Biotech Histochem 70(5) : 220-33.
  • Labeling nuclear DNA using DAPI.

    Chazotte B (2011) Cold Spring Harb Protoc 2011(1) : pdb.prot5556.
  • New insights into the in situ microscopic visualization and quantification of inorganic polyphosphate stores by 4',6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI)-staining.

    Gomes FM et al (2013) Eur J Histochem 57(4) : e34.
  • DAPI as a useful stain for nuclear quantitation.

    Tarnowski et al (1991) Biotech Histochem 66(6) : 297-302
  • Labeling nuclear DNA using DAPI.

    Chazotte et al (2011) Cold Spring Harb Protoc 2011(1) : 5556