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Biophys J. 2005 Dec;89(6):4286-99. Epub 2005 Sep 16.

Fluorescence lifetime heterogeneity resolution in the frequency domain by lifetime moments analysis.

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  • 1Cell Biophysics Group, European Neuroscience Institute, 37073 Göttingen, Germany.


Fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy presents a powerful tool in biology and biophysics because it allows the investigation of the local environment of a fluorochrome in living cells in a quantitative manner. Furthermore, imaging Förster-type resonance energy transfer (FRET) by fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy enables protein-protein interactions and intermolecular distances to be mapped under physiological conditions. Quantitative and precise data analysis methods are required to access the richness of information that is contained in FRET data on biological samples. Lifetime detection in the frequency-domain yields two lifetime estimations. The lifetime moments analysis (LiMA) provides a quantitative measure of the lifetime distribution broadness by exploiting the analytical relationship between the phase- and demodulation-lifetime estimations and relating them to the weighted average and variance of the lifetime distribution. The LiMA theoretical framework is validated by comparison with global analysis and by applying it to a constrained two-component FRET system using simulations and experiments. Furthermore, a novel LIMA-based error analysis and a more intuitive formalism for global analysis are presented. Finally, a new method to resolve a FRET system is proposed and experimentally applied to the investigation of protein-protein interactions.

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