KP-1 dye distinguishes stem cells from differentiated cells by LCI and FCM

ips-colony-bright-field | tebu-bio

Live cell imaging and cell sorting by flow cytometry are possible experimental approaches for researchers working in stem cell research and regenerative medicine. In this post, we take a look at the Kyoto Probe 1 (KP-1)  from (GORYO Chemicals).

KP-1 is a unique chemical probe to distinguish Human stem cells (iPS / ES cells) from differentiated cells in culture and by LCI or FCM.


Staining of an iPS colony formed on the feeder cells, with KP-1. (A: bright field, B: fluorescent).

This is possible because of KP-1’s characteristics (ex. 515 nm, em. 529 nm) and the fact that ABC transporters are active in differentiated cells.

Cell permeable, the dye enters into the the human pluripotent stem cells and localizes in the mitochondria (regardless of the mitochondrial membrane potential) leading to a fluorescent staining in the cells. After cellular differentiation, active ABC transporters eliminate KP-1 from the cells which become non-fluorescent.

Mechanism of human iPS/ES cell specific staining by KP-1

Mechanism of human iPS/ES cell specific staining by Kyoto Probe 1 (KP-1). Source: Goryo Chemical | tebu-bio

KP-1 enables you to distinguish iPS cells from differentiated cells and to isolate human iPS cells from somatic cells (except nerve cells) by cell sorting. This probe is very useful for researchers involved in regenerative medicine and stem cell research.

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LCI cell cartoon

Live Cell Imaging tools available at tebu-bio


If you are interested in testing one of the live cell imaging stains presented, leave your request in the form below.

You might also like to get a complete overview about tebu-bio’s unique Live cell imaging offer via an interactive Live cell imaging tool selection guide. All you need to do is just click on the biological parameter you want to visualize – and you’ll find the corresponding molecular probes available.




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Written by Philippe Fixe, PhD
Philippe Fixe is a former Marketing Manager at tebu-bio, passionate about innovation and R&D in Life sciences, Biotechnology, Medical research, Drug discovery, and also a keen photographer.