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J Fluoresc. 2005 Nov;15(6):873-82.

High probe intensity photobleaching measurement of lateral diffusion in cell membranes.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA.


Lateral diffusion measurements, most commonly accomplished through Fluorescence Photobleaching Recovery (FPR or FRAP), provide important information on cell membrane molecules' size, environment and participation in intermolecular interactions. However, serious difficulties arise when these techniques are applied to weakly expressed proteins of either of two types: fusions of membrane receptors with visible fluorescent proteins or membrane molecules on autofluorescent cells. To achieve adequate sensitivity in these cases, techniques such as interference fringe FPR are needed. However, in such measurements, cytoplasmic species contribute to the fluorescence recovery signal and thus yield diffusion parameters not properly representing the small number of surface molecules. A new method helps eliminate these difficulties. High Probe Intensity (HPI)-FPR measurements retain the intrinsic confocality of spot measurements to eliminate interference from fluorescent cytoplasmic species. However, HPI-FPR methods lift the previous requirement that FPR procedures be performed at probe beam intensities low enough to not induce bleaching in samples during measurements. The high probe intensities now employed provide much larger fluorescence signals and thus more information on molecular diffusion from each measurement. We report successful measurement of membrane dynamics by this technique.

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