Photobleaching-Based Quantitative Analysis of Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer inside Single Living Cell


The current advances of fluorescence microscopy and new fluorescent probes make fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) a powerful technique for studying protein-protein interactions inside living cells. It is very hard to quantitatively analyze FRET efficiency using intensity-based FRET imaging microscopy due to the presence of autofluorescence and spectral crosstalks. In this study, we for the first time developed a novel photobleaching-based method to quantitatively detect FRET efficiency (Pb-FRET) by selectively photobleaching acceptor. The Pb-FRET method requires two fluorescence detection channels: a donor channel (CH 1 ) to selectively detect the fluorescence from donor, and a FRET channel (CH 2 ) which normally includes the fluorescence from both acceptor and donor due to emission spectral crosstalk. We used the Pb-FRET method to quantitatively measure the FRET efficiency of SCAT3, a caspase-3 indicator based on FRET, inside single living cells stably expressing SCAT3 during STS-induced apoptosis. At 0, 6 and 12 h after STS treatment, the FRET efficiency of SCAT3 obtained by Pb-FRET inside living cells was verified by two-photon excitation (TPE) fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM). The temporal resolution of Pb-FRET method is in second time-scale for ROI photobleaching, even in microsecond time-scale for spot photobleaching. Our results demonstrate that the Pb-FRET method is independent of photobleaching degree, and is very useful for quantitatively monitoring protein-protein interactions inside single living cell.

DOI: 10.1007/s10895-009-0518-3

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@article{Wang2009PhotobleachingBasedQA, title={Photobleaching-Based Quantitative Analysis of Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer inside Single Living Cell}, author={Longxiang Wang and Tong-sheng Chen and Junle Qu and Xunbin Wei}, journal={Journal of Fluorescence}, year={2009}, volume={20}, pages={27-35} }