The presynaptic dopamine (DA) transporter is responsible for DA inactivation following release and is a major target for the psychostimulants cocaine and amphetamine. Dysfunction and/or polymorphisms in human DAT (SLC6A3) have been associated with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, Parkinson's disease, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Despite the clinical importance of DAT, many uncertainties remain regarding the transporter's regulation, in part due to the poor spatiotemporal resolution of conventional methodologies and the relative lack of efficient DAT-specific fluorescent probes. We developed a quantum dot-based labeling approach that uses a DAT-specific, biotinylated ligand, 2-β-carbomethoxy-3-β-(4-fluorophenyl)tropane (IDT444), that can be bound by streptavidin-conjugated quantum dots. Flow cytometry and confocal microscopy were used to detect DAT in stably and transiently transfected mammalian cells. IDT444 is useful for quantum-dot-based fluorescent assays to monitor DAT expression, function, and plasma membrane trafficking in living cells as evidenced by the visualization of acute, protein-kinase-C (PKC)-dependent DAT internalization.