Date: 27 Aug 2009

Quantitative Fluorescence Microscopy Techniques

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Summary

Fluorescence microscopy is a non-invasive technique that allows high resolution imaging of cytoskeletal structures. Advances in the field of fluorescent labelling (e.g., fluorescent proteins, quantum dots, tetracystein domains) and optics (e.g., super-resolution techniques and quantitative methods) not only provide better images of the cytoskeleton, but also offer an opportunity to quantify the complex of molecular events that populate this highly organised, yet dynamic, structure.

For instance, fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy and Förster resonance energy transfer imaging allow mapping of protein–protein interactions; furthermore, techniques based on the measurement of photobleaching kinetics (e.g., fluorescence recovery after photobleaching, fluorescence loss in photobleaching, and fluorescence localisation after photobleaching) permit the characterisation of axonal transport and, more generally, diffusion of relevant biomolecules.

Quantitative fluorescence microscopy techniques offer powerful tools for understanding the physiological and pathological roles of molecular machineries in the living cell.