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Nephron Exp Nephrol. 2006;103(2):e41-9. Epub 2006 Mar 10.

Fluorescence correlation spectroscopy and fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy.

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Department of Medicine, Division of Renal Diseases and Hypertension, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver, Colo 80262, USA.


With few and commercially available add-ons, both confocal and full-field fluorescence microscopes can be adapted to provide more information on the biological sample of interest. In this review we discuss the possibilities offered by two additional functionalities to fluorescence microscopes, fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS) and fluorescence lifetime imaging mi croscopy (FLIM). FCS measurements at a single point in a sample allow kinetic and diffusion properties of fluorescently labeled molecules to be determined, as well as their concentration and aggregation state. Data from multiple points of the sample can be acquired using scanning-FCS, image correlation spectroscopy, and raster image correlation spectroscopy. These techniques cover phenomena with characteristic durations from sub-microsecond to second time scales. The power of FLIM lies in the fact that the measured fluorescent lifetime of a fluorophore is sensitive to the molecular environment of that fluorophore. FLIM is a robust means to quantify Forster resonance energy transfer and thus determine protein-protein interactions or protein conformational changes. In addition, FLIM is very valuable for functional imaging of ion concentrations in cells and tissues as it can be applied in heterogeneously labeled samples. In summary, FCS and FLIM allow information to be gathered beyond localization, including diffusional mobility, protein clustering and interactions, and molecular environment.

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