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Biophys J. 1996 Apr;70(4):2001-7.

Imaging fluorescence correlation spectroscopy: nonuniform IgE distributions on planar membranes.

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Department of Chemistry, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 27599-3290, USA.


Fluorescence correlation spectroscopy is useful for detecting and characterizing molecular clusters that are smaller than or approximately equal to optical resolution in size. Here, we report the development of an approach in which the pixel-to-pixel fluorescence fluctuations from a single fluorescence image are spatially autocorrelated. In these measurements, tetramethylrhodamine-labeled, anti-trinitrophenyl IgE antibodies were specifically bound to substrate-supported planar membranes composed of trinitrophenyl-aminocaproyldipalmitoylphosphatidylethanolamine and dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine. The antibody-coated membranes were illuminated with the evanescent field from a totally internally reflected laser beam, and the fluorescence arising from the IgE-coated membranes was recorded with a cooled CCD camera. The image was corrected for the elliptical Gaussian shape of the evanescent illumination after background subtraction. The spatial autocorrelation functions of the resulting images generated two useful parameters: the extrapolated initial values, which were related to the average cluster intensity and density; and the correlation distances, which were related to the average cluster size. These parameters varied with the IgE density, and unlabeled polyclonal anti-IgE enhanced the nonuniform IgE distributions. The autocorrelation functions calculated from images of planar membranes containing fluorescently labeled lipids rather than bound, labeled IgE demonstrated that the spatial nonuniformities were prominent only in the presence of IgE. Fluorescent beads were used to demonstrate the principles and the methods.

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