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Mapping diffusion in a living cell via the phasor approach.

  • Author(s): Ranjit, Suman;
  • Lanzano, Luca;
  • Gratton, Enrico
  • et al.

Diffusion of a fluorescent protein within a cell has been measured using either fluctuation-based techniques (fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS) or raster-scan image correlation spectroscopy) or particle tracking. However, none of these methods enables us to measure the diffusion of the fluorescent particle at each pixel of the image. Measurement using conventional single-point FCS at every individual pixel results in continuous long exposure of the cell to the laser and eventual bleaching of the sample. To overcome this limitation, we have developed what we believe to be a new method of scanning with simultaneous construction of a fluorescent image of the cell. In this believed new method of modified raster scanning, as it acquires the image, the laser scans each individual line multiple times before moving to the next line. This continues until the entire area is scanned. This is different from the original raster-scan image correlation spectroscopy approach, where data are acquired by scanning each frame once and then scanning the image multiple times. The total time of data acquisition needed for this method is much shorter than the time required for traditional FCS analysis at each pixel. However, at a single pixel, the acquired intensity time sequence is short; requiring nonconventional analysis of the correlation function to extract information about the diffusion. These correlation data have been analyzed using the phasor approach, a fit-free method that was originally developed for analysis of FLIM images. Analysis using this method results in an estimation of the average diffusion coefficient of the fluorescent species at each pixel of an image, and thus, a detailed diffusion map of the cell can be created.

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