Over the past decade, genetically encoded fluorescent proteins have become widely used as noninvasive markers in living cells. The development of fluorescent proteins, coupled with advances in digital imaging, has led to the rapid evolution of live-cell imaging methods. These approaches are being applied to address biological questions of the recruitment, co-localization, and interactions of specific proteins within particular subcellular compartments. In the wake of this rapid progress, however, come important issues associated with the acquisition and analysis of ever larger and more complex digital imaging data sets. Using protein localization in the mammalian cell nucleus as an example, we will review some recent developments In the application of quantitative imaging to analyze subcellular distribution and co-localization of proteins in populations of living cells. In this report, we review the principles of acquiring fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) microscopy measurements to define the spatial relationships between proteins. We then discuss how fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM) provides a method that is independent of intensity-based measurements to detect localized protein interactions with spatial resolution. Finally, we consider potential problems associated with the expression of proteins fused to fluorescent proteins for FRET-based measurements from living cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)