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J Vis Exp. 2015 Dec 17;(106):e53749. doi: 10.3791/53749.

Cortical Actin Flow in T Cells Quantified by Spatio-temporal Image Correlation Spectroscopy of Structured Illumination Microscopy Data.

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Department of Physics and Randall Division of Cell and Molecular Biophysics, King's College London.
ARC Centre for Advanced Molecular Imaging, Australian Centre for NanoMedicine, University of New South Wales Australia.
Academic Department of Rheumatology, Centre for Molecular and Cellular Biology of Inflammation, Division of Immunology, Infection and Inflammatory Disease, King's College London.
Departments of Chemistry and Physic, McGill University.
Department of Physics and Randall Division of Cell and Molecular Biophysics, King's College London;


Filamentous-actin plays a crucial role in a majority of cell processes including motility and, in immune cells, the formation of a key cell-cell interaction known as the immunological synapse. F-actin is also speculated to play a role in regulating molecular distributions at the membrane of cells including sub-membranous vesicle dynamics and protein clustering. While standard light microscope techniques allow generalized and diffraction-limited observations to be made, many cellular and molecular events including clustering and molecular flow occur in populations at length-scales far below the resolving power of standard light microscopy. By combining total internal reflection fluorescence with the super resolution imaging method structured illumination microscopy, the two-dimensional molecular flow of F-actin at the immune synapse of T cells was recorded. Spatio-temporal image correlation spectroscopy (STICS) was then applied, which generates quantifiable results in the form of velocity histograms and vector maps representing flow directionality and magnitude. This protocol describes the combination of super-resolution imaging and STICS techniques to generate flow vectors at sub-diffraction levels of detail. This technique was used to confirm an actin flow that is symmetrically retrograde and centripetal throughout the periphery of T cells upon synapse formation.

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