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Biophys J. 1999 Nov;77(5):2837-49.

Measurement of molecular diffusion in solution by multiphoton fluorescence photobleaching recovery.

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Department of Physics, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA.


Multiphoton fluorescence photobleaching recovery (MP-FPR) is a technique for measuring the three-dimensional (3D) mobility of fluorescent molecules with 3D spatial resolution of a few microns. A brief, intense flash of mode-locked laser light pulses excites fluorescent molecules via multiphoton excitation in an ellipsoidal focal volume and photobleaches a fraction. Because multiphoton excitation of fluorophores is intrinsically confined to the high-intensity focal volume of the illuminating beam, the bleached region is restricted to a known, three-dimensionally defined volume. Fluorescence in this focal volume is measured with multiphoton excitation, using the attenuated laser beam to measure fluorescence recovery as fresh unbleached dye diffuses in. The time course of the fluorescence recovery signal after photobleaching can be analyzed to determine the diffusion coefficient of the fluorescent species. The mathematical formulas used to fit MP-FPR recovery curves and the techniques needed to properly utilize them to acquire the diffusion coefficients of fluorescently labeled molecules within cells are presented here. MP-FPR is demonstrated on calcein in RBL-2H3 cells, using an anomalous subdiffusion model, as well as in aqueous solutions of wild-type green fluorescent protein, yielding a diffusion coefficient of 8.7 x 10(-7) cm(2)s(-1) in excellent agreement with the results of other techniques.

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