Tracking Image Correlation: Combining Single-Particle Tracking and Image Correlation

The Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2013, doi:10.1016/j.bpj.2013.04.005, Volume 104, Issue 11, 2373-2382 published on 04.06.2013
Biophysical Journal, online article
The interactions and coordination of biomolecules are crucial for most cellular functions. The observation of protein interactions in live cells may provide a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms. After fluorescent labeling of the interacting partners and live-cell microscopy, the colocalization is generally analyzed by quantitative global methods. Recent studies have addressed questions regarding the individual colocalization of moving biomolecules, usually by using single-particle tracking (SPT) and comparing the fluorescent intensities in both color channels. Here, we introduce a new method that combines SPT and correlation methods to obtain a dynamical 3D colocalization analysis along single trajectories of dual-colored particles. After 3D tracking, the colocalization is computed at each particle’s position via the local 3D image cross correlation of the two detection channels. For every particle analyzed, the output consists of the 3D trajectory, the time-resolved 3D colocalization information, and the fluorescence intensity in both channels. In addition, the cross-correlation analysis shows the 3D relative movement of the two fluorescent labels with an accuracy of 30 nm. We apply this method to the tracking of viral fusion events in live cells and demonstrate its capacity to obtain the time-resolved colocalization status of single particles in dense and noisy environments.  

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TU München
Helmholtz München
MPI of Neurobiology
MPI of Biochemistry