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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2001 Feb 13;98(4):1577-82. Epub 2001 Feb 6.

Real-time visualization of intracellular hydrodynamics in single living cells.

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  • 1Ultrafast Laser and Spectroscopy Laboratory, Materials Science Centre, University of Groningen, Nijenborgh 4, 9747 AG Groningen, The Netherlands.


Intracellular water concentrations in single living cells were visualized by nonlinear coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering (CARS) microscopy. In combination with isotopic exchange measurements, CARS microscopy allowed the real-time observation of transient intracellular hydrodynamics at a high spatial resolution. Studies of the hydrodynamics in the microorganism Dictyostelium discoideum indicated the presence of a microscopic region near the plasma membrane where the mobility of water molecules is severely restricted. Modeling the transient hydrodynamics eventuated in the determination of cell-specific cytosolic diffusion and plasma membrane permeability constants. Our experiments demonstrate that CARS microscopy offers an invaluable tool for probing single-cell water dynamics.

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