Fluorescent-Based Quantitative Measurements of Signal Transduction in Single Cells

  • Serge PeletEmail author
  • Matthias Peter


Budding yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) has been widely used as a model system to study fundamental biological processes. Genetic and biochemical approaches have allowed in the last decades to uncover the key components involved in many signaling pathways. Generally, most techniques measure the average behavior of a population of cells, and thus miss important cell-to-cell variations. With the recent progress in fluorescent proteins, new avenues have been opened to quantitatively study the dynamics of signaling in single living cells. In this chapter, we describe several techniques based on fluorescence measurements to quantify the activation of biological pathways. Flow cytometry allows for rapid quantification of the total fluorescence of a large number of single cells. In contrast, microscopy offers a lower throughput but allows to follow with a high temporal resolution the localization of proteins at sub-cellular resolution. Finally, advanced functional imaging techniques such as FRET and FCS offer the possibility to directly visualize the formation of protein complexes or to quantify the activity of proteins in vivo. Together these techniques present powerful new approaches to study cellular signaling and will greatly increase our understanding of the regulation of signaling networks in budding yeast and beyond.


Cellular signaling Fluorescent proteins Microscopy Flow cytometry FRET  FCS 



We would like to thank Reinhard Dechant for critical reading of the manuscript. Work in the laboratory of M.P. is supported by Unicellsys, SPMD, the initiative (YeastX and LiverX projects), the ETHZ and the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF).


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyInstitute of BiochemistryETH ZürichSwitzerland

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