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Phys Biol. 2013 Jun;10(3):036002. doi: 10.1088/1478-3975/10/3/036002. Epub 2013 Apr 10.

Modes of correlated angular motion in live cells across three distinct time scales.

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  • 1Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PT, UK.


Particle tracking experiments with high speed digital microscopy yield the positions and trajectories of lipid droplets inside living cells. Angular correlation analysis shows that the lipid droplets have uncorrelated motion at short time scales (τ < 1 ms) followed by anti-persistent motion for lag times in the range of 1 ⩽ τ ⩽ 10 ms. The angular correlation at longer time scales, τ > 10 ms, becomes persistent, indicating directed movement. The motion at all time scales is associated with the lipid droplets being tethered to and driven along the microtubule network. The point at which the angular correlation changes from anti-persistent to persistent motion corresponds to the cross over between sub-diffusive and super diffusive motion, as observed by mean square displacement analysis. Correct analysis of the angular correlations of the detector noise is found to be crucial in modelling the observed phenomena.

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