Characterization of one- and two-photon excitation fluorescence resonance energy transfer microscopy

Masilamani Elangovan, Horst Wallrabe, Ye Chen, Richard N. Day, Margarida Barroso, Ammasi Periasamy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

197 Scopus citations


Advances in molecular biology provide various methods to define the structure and function of the individual proteins that form the component parts of subcellular structures. The ability to see the dynamic behavior of a specific protein inside the living cell became possible through the application of advanced fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) microscope techniques. The fluorophore molecule used for FRET imaging has a characteristic absorption and emission spectrum that should be considered for characterizing the FRET signal. In this article we describe the system development for the image acquisition for one- and two-photon excitation FRET microscopy. We also describe the precision FRET (PFRET) data analysis algorithm that we developed to remove spectral bleed-through and variation in the fluorophore expression level (or concentration) for the donor and acceptor molecules. The acquired images have been processed using a PFRET algorithm to calculate the energy transfer efficiency and the distance between donor and acceptor molecules. We implemented the software correction to study the organization of the apical endosome in epithelial polarized MDCK cells and dimerization of the CAATT/enhancer binding protein α (C/EBPα). For these proteins, the results revealed that the extent of correction affects the conventionally calculated energy transfer efficiency (E) and the distance (r) between donor and acceptor molecules by 38 and 9%, respectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)58-73
Number of pages16
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003



  • Efficiency and distance calculation
  • Fluorophore expression level
  • Precision fluorescence resonance energy transfer
  • Protein-protein interactions
  • Quantum yield
  • Spectral bleed-through
  • Spectral sensitivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

Cite this