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      Fluorescence Correlation Spectroscopy and Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging Microscopy

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          With few and commercially available add-ons, both confocal and full-field fluorescence microscopes can be adapted to provide more information on the biological sample of interest. In this review we discuss the possibilities offered by two additional functionalities to fluorescence microscopes, fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS) and fluorescence lifetime imaging mi croscopy (FLIM). FCS measurements at a single point in a sample allow kinetic and diffusion properties of fluorescently labeled molecules to be determined, as well as their concentration and aggregation state. Data from multiple points of the sample can be acquired using scanning-FCS, image correlation spectroscopy, and raster image correlation spectroscopy. These techniques cover phenomena with characteristic durations from sub-microsecond to second time scales. The power of FLIM lies in the fact that the measured fluorescent lifetime of a fluorophore is sensitive to the molecular environment of that fluorophore. FLIM is a robust means to quantify Förster resonance energy transfer and thus determine protein-protein interactions or protein conformational changes. In addition, FLIM is very valuable for functional imaging of ion concentrations in cells and tissues as it can be applied in heterogeneously labeled samples. In summary, FCS and FLIM allow information to be gathered beyond localization, including diffusional mobility, protein clustering and interactions, and molecular environment.

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          Most cited references 43

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          Studying protein dynamics in living cells.

          Since the advent of the green fluorescent protein, the subcellular localization, mobility, transport routes and binding interactions of proteins can be studied in living cells. Live cell imaging, in combination with photobleaching, energy transfer or fluorescence correlation spectroscopy are providing unprecedented insights into the movement of proteins and their interactions with cellular components. Remarkably, these powerful techniques are accessible to non-specialists using commercially available microscope systems.
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            Fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy: spatial resolution of biochemical processes in the cell.

             P. Bastiaens (1999)
            Fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM) is a technique in which the mean fluorescence lifetime of a chromophore is measured at each spatially resolvable element of a microscope image. The nanosecond excited-state lifetime is independent of probe concentration or light path length but dependent upon excited-state reactions such as fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET). These properties of fluorescence lifetimes allow exploration of the molecular environment of labelled macromolecules in the interior of cells. Imaging of fluorescence lifetimes enables biochemical reactions to be followed at each microscopically resolvable location within the cell.
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              Imaging protein molecules using FRET and FLIM microscopy.

              Förster (or fluorescence) resonance energy transfer (FRET) and fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) have moved center stage and are increasingly forming part of multifaceted imaging approaches. They are complementary methodologies that can be applied to advanced quantitative analyses. The widening application of FRET and FLIM has been driven by the availability of suitable fluorophores, increasingly sophisticated microscopy systems, methodologies to correct spectral bleed-through, and the ease with which FRET can be combined with other techniques. FRET and FLIM have recently found use in several applications: in the analysis of protein-protein interactions with high spatial and temporal specificity (e.g. clustering), in the study of conformational changes, in the analysis of binding sequences, and in applications such as high-throughput screening.

                Author and article information

                Nephron Exp Nephrol
                Cardiorenal Medicine
                S. Karger AG
                March 2006
                13 March 2006
                : 103
                : 2
                : e41-e49
                Departments of Medicine, Physiology and Biophysics, Division of Renal Diseases and Hypertension, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver, Colo., USA
                90615 Nephron Exp Nephrol 2006;103:e41–e49
                © 2006 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Figures: 4, Tables: 1, References: 50, Pages: 1
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                Microscopic Imaging


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