A spin-labeled derivative of eosin was chemically synthesized from 5-aminoeosin and the nitroxide spin label 2,2,5,5-tetramethylpyrrolin-1-oxyl-3-carboxylic acid. Following determination of the chemical identity of the spin-labeled eosin (5-SLE) by FAB mass spectroscopy, its optical and magnetic resonance spectroscopic properties were characterized in aqueous solution and compared to a diamagnetic eosin derivative, 5-acetamido eosin (5- AcE). The visible light absorption maximum of 5-SLE was 518 nm, the same as for 5-AcE. The fluorescence quantum yield of 5-SLE was only reduced by approximately 10% relative to 5-AcE, and the fluorescence lifetime was marginally reduced relative to 5-AcE. The phosphorescence lifetime and yield for 5-SLE were very similar to those for 5-AcE. The phosphorescence yield of 5-SLE bound noncovalently to BSA was reduced by approximately 60% relative to 5-AcE, and the phosphorescence lifetime reduced from approximately 2.4 msec (5-AcE) to 1.6 msec (5-SLE). Reduction of the nitroxide moiety of the 5-SLE with sodium ascorbate resulted in minimal changes in the fluorescence and phosphorescence quantum yields and lifetimes. This indicated that the unpaired electron of the nitroxide spin label did not seriously affect the optical spectroscopic characteristics of the spin-labeled eosin molecule. The quantum yields and lifetimes of 5-SLE were still quite acceptable for time- resolved fluorescence and phosphorescence studies. The electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectrum of 5-SLE in aqueous solution has a lineshape consistent with a molecule the size of 5-SLE undergoing rapid rotational reorientation. When bound to BSA, the EPR spectrum of 5-SLE was broadened to a near slow motion limit for EPR, as expected for the relatively slowly rotating protein-5-SLE complex. Time-resolved phosphorescence anisotropy and saturation transfer EPR (ST-EPR) experiments with samples of 5-SLE bound to BSA in solutions of varying glycerol concentrations at 2 degree(s)C demonstrated that this combined probe is suitable for monitoring rotational dynamics of macromolecular systems over the appropriate time ranges. These studies have shown that one combined optical and EPR probe, 5-SLE, can be employed in the full range of fluorescence, phosphorescence, EPR, and ST- EPR spectroscopies.