Bayesian inference for improved single molecule fluorescence tracking.
ABSTRACT: Single molecule tracking is widely used to monitor the change in position of lipids and proteins in living cells. In many experiments in which molecules are tagged with a single or small number of fluorophores, the signal/noise ratio may be limiting, the number of molecules is not known, and fluorophore blinking and photobleaching can occur. All these factors make accurate tracking over long trajectories difficult and hence there is still a pressing need to develop better algorithms to extract the maximum information from a sequence of fluorescence images. We describe here a Bayesian-based inference approach, based on a trans-dimensional sequential Monte Carlo method that utilizes both the spatial and temporal information present in the image sequences. We show, using model data, where the real trajectory of the molecule is known, that our method allows accurate tracking of molecules over long trajectories even with low signal/noise ratio and in the presence of fluorescence blinking and photobleaching. The method is then applied to real experimental data.
Project description:Organic fluorophores common to fluorescence-based investigations suffer from unwanted photophysical properties, including blinking and photobleaching, which limit their overall experimental performance. Methods to control such processes are particularly important for single-molecule fluorescence and fluorescence resonance energy transfer imaging where uninterrupted, stable fluorescence is paramount. Fluorescence and FRET-based assays have been carried out on dye-labeled DNA and RNA-based systems to quantify the effect of including small-molecule solution additives on the fluorescence and FRET behaviors of both cyanine and Alexa fluorophores. A detailed dwell time analysis of the fluorescence and FRET trajectories of more than 200,000 individual molecules showed that two compounds identified previously as triplet state quenchers, cyclooctatetraene, and Trolox, as well as 4-nitrobenzyl alcohol, act to favorably attenuate blinking, photobleaching, and influence the rate of photoresurrection in a concentration-dependent and context-dependent manner. In both biochemical systems examined, a unique cocktail of compounds was shown to be optimal for imaging performance. By simultaneously providing the most rapid and direct access to multiple photophysical kinetic parameters, smFRET imaging provides a powerful avenue for future investigations aimed at discovering new compounds, and effective combinations thereof. These efforts may ultimately facilitate tuning organic dye molecule performance according to each specific experimental demand.
Project description:Folding and unfolding rates for the ultrafast folding villin subdomain were determined from a photon-by-photon analysis of fluorescence trajectories in single molecule FRET experiments. One of the obstacles to measuring fast kinetics in single molecule fluorescence experiments is blinking of the fluorophores on a timescale that is not well separated from the process of interest. By incorporating acceptor blinking into a two-state kinetics model, we show that it is possible to extract accurate rate coefficients on the microsecond time scale for folding and unfolding using the maximum likelihood method of I.V. Gopich and A. Szabo. This method yields the most likely parameters of a given model that can reproduce the observed photon trajectories. The extracted parameters agree with both the decay rate of the donor-acceptor cross correlation function and the results of ensemble equilibrium and kinetic experiments using nanosecond laser temperature jump.
Project description:Two maximum likelihood estimation (MLE) methods were developed for optimizing the analysis of single-molecule trajectories that include phenomena such as experimental noise, photoblinking, photobleaching, and translation or rotation out of the collection plane. In particular, short, single-molecule trajectories with photoblinking were studied, and our method was compared to existing analytical techniques applied to simulated data. The optimal method for various experimental cases was established, and the optimized MLE method was applied to a real experimental system: single-molecule diffusion of fluorescent molecular machines known as nanocars.
Project description:Single-molecule localization microscopy of biological samples requires a precise knowledge of the employed fluorescent labels. Photoactivation, photoblinking and photobleaching of phototransformable fluorescent proteins influence the data acquisition and data processing strategies to be used in (Fluorescence) Photoactivation Localization Microscopy ((F)-PALM), notably for reliable molecular counting. As these parameters might depend on the local environment, they should be measured in cellulo in biologically relevant experimental conditions. Here, we measured phototransformation quantum yields for Dendra2 fused to actin in fixed mammalian cells in typical (F)-PALM experiments. To this aim, we developed a data processing strategy based on the clustering optimization procedure proposed by Lee et al (PNAS 109, 17436-17441, 2012). Using simulations, we estimated the range of experimental parameters (molecular density, molecular orientation, background level, laser power, frametime) adequate for an accurate determination of the phototransformation yields. Under illumination at 561 nm in PBS buffer at pH 7.4, the photobleaching yield of Dendra2 fused to actin was measured to be (2.5 ± 0.4) × 10(-5), whereas the blinking-off yield and thermally-activated blinking-on rate were measured to be (2.3 ± 0.2) × 10(-5) and 11.7 ± 0.5 s-1, respectively. These phototransformation yields differed from those measured in poly-vinyl alcohol (PVA) and were strongly affected by addition of the antifading agent 1,4-diazabicyclo[2.2.2]octane (DABCO). In the presence of DABCO, the photobleaching yield was reduced 2-fold, the blinking-off yield was decreased more than 3-fold, and the blinking-on rate was increased 2-fold. Therefore, DABCO largely improved Dendra2 photostability in fixed mammalian cells. These findings are consistent with redox-based bleaching and blinking mechanisms under (F)-PALM experimental conditions. Finally, the green-to-red photoconversion quantum yield of Dendra2 was estimated to be (1.4 ± 0.6) × 10(-5) in cellulo under 405 nm illumination.
Project description:We describe a general, versatile and minimally invasive method to image single molecules near the cell surface that can be applied to any GFP-tagged protein in Caenorhabditis elegans embryos. We exploited tunable expression via RNAi and a dynamically exchanging monomer pool to achieve fast, continuous single-molecule imaging at optimal densities with signal-to-noise ratios adequate for robust single-particle tracking (SPT). We introduce a method called smPReSS, single-molecule photobleaching relaxation to steady state, that infers exchange rates from quantitative analysis of single-molecule photobleaching kinetics without using SPT. Combining SPT and smPReSS allowed for spatially and temporally resolved measurements of protein mobility and exchange kinetics. We used these methods to (i) resolve distinct mobility states and spatial variation in exchange rates of the polarity protein PAR-6 and (ii) measure spatiotemporal modulation of actin filament assembly and disassembly. These methods offer a promising avenue to investigate dynamic mechanisms that pattern the embryonic cell surface.
Project description:Type Ib diamonds emit bright fluorescence at 550-800 nm from nitrogen-vacancy point defects, (N-V)(0) and (N-V)(-), produced by high-energy ion beam irradiation and subsequent thermal annealing. The emission, together with noncytotoxicity and easiness of surface functionalization, makes nano-sized diamonds a promising fluorescent probe for single-particle tracking in heterogeneous environments. We present the result of our characterization and application of single fluorescent nanodiamonds as cellular biomarkers. We found that, under the same excitation conditions, the fluorescence of a single 35-nm diamond is significantly brighter than that of a single dye molecule such as Alexa Fluor 546. The latter photobleached in the range of 10 s at a laser power density of 10(4) W/cm(2), whereas the nanodiamond particle showed no sign of photobleaching even after 5 min of continuous excitation. Furthermore, no fluorescence blinking was detected within a time resolution of 1 ms. The photophysical properties of the particles do not deteriorate even after surface functionalization with carboxyl groups, which form covalent bonding with polyL-lysines that interact with DNA molecules through electrostatic forces. The feasibility of using surface-functionalized fluorescent nanodiamonds as single-particle biomarkers is demonstrated with both fixed and live HeLa cells.
Project description:Tracking single molecules inside cells reveals the dynamics of biological processes, including receptor trafficking, signalling and cargo transport. However, individual molecules often cannot be resolved inside cells due to their high density. Here we develop the PhotoGate technique that controls the number of fluorescent particles in a region of interest by repeatedly photobleaching its boundary. PhotoGate bypasses the requirement of photoactivation to track single particles at surface densities two orders of magnitude greater than the single-molecule detection limit. Using this method, we observe ligand-induced dimerization of a receptor tyrosine kinase at the cell surface and directly measure binding and dissociation of signalling molecules from early endosomes in a dense cytoplasm with single-molecule resolution. We additionally develop a numerical simulation suite for rapid quantitative optimization of Photogate experimental conditions. PhotoGate yields longer tracking times and more accurate measurements of complex stoichiometry than existing single-molecule imaging methods.
Project description:Single-molecule measurements of DNA hybridization kinetics are mostly performed on a surface or inside a trap. Here we demonstrate a time-resolved, 3D single-molecule tracking (3D-SMT) method that allows us to follow a freely diffusing ssDNA molecule in solution for hundreds of milliseconds or even seconds and observe multiple annealing and melting events taking place on the same molecule. This is achieved by combining confocal-feedback 3D-SMT with time-domain fluorescence lifetime measurement, where fluorescence lifetime serves as the indicator of hybridization. With sub-diffraction-limit spatial resolution in molecular tracking and 15 ms temporal resolution in monitoring the change of reporter's lifetime, we have demonstrated a full characterization of annealing rate (kon = 5.13 × 106 M-1 s-1), melting rate (koff = 9.55 s-1), and association constant (Ka = 0.54 ?M-1) of an 8 bp duplex model system diffusing at 4.8 ?m2 s-1. As our method completely eliminates the photobleaching artifacts and diffusion interference, our kon and koff results well represent the real kinetics in solution. Our binding kinetics measurement can be carried out in a low signal-to-noise ratio condition (SNR ? 1.4) where ?130 recorded photons are sufficient for a lifetime estimation. Using a population-level analysis, we can characterize hybridization kinetics over a wide range (0.5-125 s-1), even beyond the reciprocals of the lifetime monitoring temporal resolution and the average track duration.
Project description:Fluorescence microscopy provides a powerful method to directly observe single enzymes moving along a DNA held in an extended conformation. In this work, we present results from single EcoRV enzymes labeled with quantum dots which interact with DNA manipulated by double optical tweezers. The application of quantum dots facilitated accurate enzyme tracking without photobleaching whereas the tweezers allowed us to precisely control the DNA extension. The labeling did not affect the biochemical activity of EcoRV checked by directly observing DNA digestion on the single molecule level. We used this system to demonstrate that during sliding, the enzyme stays in close contact with the DNA. Additionally, slight overstretching of the DNA resulted in a significant decrease of the 1D diffusion constant, which suggests that the deformation changes the energy landscape of the sliding interaction. Together with the simplicity of the setup, these results demonstrate that the combination of optical tweezers with fluorescence tracking is a powerful tool for the study of enzyme translocation along DNA.
Project description:Single-molecule fluorescence resonance energy transfer (smFRET) is a powerful tool to investigate the dynamics of biomolecular events in real time. However, it requires two fluorophores and can be applied only to dynamics that accompany large changes in distance between the molecules. Herein, we introduce a method for kinetic analysis based on control of fluorescence blinking (KACB), a general approach to investigate the dynamics of biomolecules by using a single fluorophore. By controlling the kinetics of the redox reaction the blinking kinetics or pattern can be controlled to be affected by microenvironmental changes around a fluorophore (rKACB), thereby enabling real-time single-molecule measurement of the structure-changing dynamics of nucleic acids.