Photoactivatable Serotonin (BHQ-O-5HT)

BHQ-O-5HT is a photoactivatable form of the neurotransmitter serotonin (5-HT) that is activated with either 1-photon excitation (1PE) at 368 nm or 2-photon excitation (2PE) at 740 nm in a biological preparation, such as cell culture, tissue slice, ex vivo brain, or whole animals.


  • Has been used in dorsal root ganglia cell culture, ex vivo zebrafish brain, and whole animals (zebrafish and Xenopus laevis)
  • Stable in pH 7.2 KMOPS buffer in the dark at room temperature for several days

Serotonin (5-HT) is a neuromodulator involved in regulating mood, appetite, memory, learning, pain, and establishment of left-right (LR) asymmetry in embryonic development. BHQ-O-5HT is a "caged" 5-HT molecule, that, upon photoactivation, releases 5-HT, enabling temporal control of the release of 5-HT within a biological system. BHQ-O-5HT depolarized sensory neurons when photolyzed in culture and in larval zebrafish comparable to that observed by 5-HT by itself. The quantum efficiency (Qu) of BHQ-O-5HT·2HBr for 1-photon photolysis is 0.40 at 365 nm in KMOPS buffer at pH 7.2. The 2-photon uncaging action cross-section (du) is 0.50 GM.

From the laboratories of Timothy M. Dore, PhD and James D. Lauderdale, PhD, University of Georgia.

The Investigator's Annexe Part of The Investigator's Annexe program.

Catalog Number Product DataSheet Size AVAILABILITY Price Qty
Photoactivatable Serotonin (BHQ-O-5HT)
3mg 4-6 weeks
Regular Price:$376.00
On Sale:

Product Type: Small Molecule
Name: BHQ-O-5HT hydrogen bromide
Chemical Formula: C20H20Br3N3O2
Molecular Weight: 574.11
Format: Orange solid
Purity: >95%, HPLC
Stability: >6 months at -20C
Solubility: >5mg in 100 mL KMOPS buffer (pH 7.2)
Spectral Information: λmax= 371nm; ε= 4700 M-1cm-1, Qu= 0.4
Storage: -20C; Protect from light
Shipped: Dry ice

From the laboratories of Timothy M. Dore, PhD and James D. Lauderdale, PhD, University of Georgia.

Provided in salt form is for increased dry storage stability and easier handling.

Recommended dilution is 100uM at physiological pH. For best results, prepare solutions immediately prior to use. A stock solution in DMSO stored at -20C and in the dark has a reasonable shelf life. Once in aqueous enviornment, protect from light. Work under red light while handling the compounds before and during use.

  1. Rea AC, Vandenberg LN, Ball RE, Snouffer AA, Hudson AG, Zhu Y, McLain DE, Johnston LL, Lauderdale JD, Levin M, Dore TM. Light-activated serotonin for exploring its action in biological systems. Chem Biol. 2013 Dec 19;20(12):1536-46. doi: 10.1016/j.chembiol.2013.11.005.
  2. Vandenberg LN, Blackiston DJ, Rea AC, Dore TM, Levin M. Left-right patterning in Xenopus conjoined twin embryos requires serotonin signaling and gap junctions. Int J Dev Biol. 2014;58(10-12):799-809. doi: 10.1387/ijdb.140215ml.
  3. PCT Publication number WO2013003547A - University of Georgia Research Foundation, Inc. (Publ Jan 03, 2013).

If you publish research with this product, please let us know so we can cite your paper.