In JoVE (1)

Other Publications (58)

Articles by Mark A. A. Neil in JoVE

 JoVE Biology

Open Source High Content Analysis Utilizing Automated Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging Microscopy

1Photonics Group, Department of Physics, Imperial College London, 2Institute for Chemical Biology, Department of Chemistry, Imperial College London, 3MRC Clinical Sciences Centre, Hammersmith Hospital, 4Chemical Biology Section, Department of Chemistry, Imperial College London, 5Retroscreen Virology Ltd, 6Pfizer Global Research and Development, Pfizer Limited, Sandwich, Kent, UK, 7Centre for Histopathology, Imperial College London


JoVE 55119

Other articles by Mark A. A. Neil on PubMed

Active Aberration Correction for the Writing of Three-dimensional Optical Memory Devices

Applied Optics. Mar, 2002  |  Pubmed ID: 11902148

We describe an active optical system that both measures and corrects the aberrations introduced when writing three-dimensional bit-oriented optical memory by a two-photon absorption process. The system uses a ferroelectric liquid-crystal spatial light modulator (FLCSLM) configured as an arbitrary wave-front generator that is reconfigurable at speeds as great as 2.5 kHz. A method of aberration measurement by the FLCSLM wave-front generator is described. The same device is also used to correct the induced aberrations by preshaping the wave fronts with the conjugate phase aberration as well as to scan the focal spot in three dimensions. Experimental results show the correction of both on- and off-axis aberrations, allowing the writing of data at depths as great as 1 mm inside a LiNbO3 crystal.

Adaptive Aberration Correction in a Confocal Microscope

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Apr, 2002  |  Pubmed ID: 11959908

The main advantage of confocal microscopes over their conventional counterparts is their ability to optically "section" thick specimens; the thin image slices thus obtained can be used to reconstruct three-dimensional images, a capability which is particularly useful in biological applications. However, it is well known that the resolution and optical sectioning ability can be severely degraded by system or specimen-induced aberrations. The use of high aperture lenses further exacerbates the problem. Moreover, aberrations can considerably reduce the number of photons that reach the detector, leading to lower contrast. It is rather unfortunate, therefore, that in practical microscopy, aberration-free confocal imaging is rarely achieved. Adaptive optics systems, which have been used widely to correct aberrations in astronomy, offer a solution here but also present new challenges. The optical system and the source of aberrations in a confocal microscope are considerably different and require a novel approach to wavefront sensing. This method, based upon direct measurement of Zernike aberration modes, also exhibits an axial selectivity similar to that of a confocal microscope. We demonstrate an adaptive confocal fluorescence microscope incorporating this modal sensor together with a deformable membrane mirror for aberration correction. Aberration corrected images of biological specimens show considerable improvement in contrast and apparent restoration of axial resolution.

New Modal Wave-front Sensor: Application to Adaptive Confocal Fluorescence Microscopy and Two-photon Excitation Fluorescence Microscopy

Journal of the Optical Society of America. A, Optics, Image Science, and Vision. Oct, 2002  |  Pubmed ID: 12365630

Confocal and multiphoton microscopes are particularly sensitive to specimen- or system-induced aberrations, which result in decreased resolution and signal-to-noise ratio. The inclusion of an adaptive optics correction system could help overcome this limitation and restore diffraction-limited performance, but such a system requires a suitable method of wave-front measurement. By extending the concept of a modal wave-front sensor previously described by Neil et al. [J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 17, 1098-1107 (2000)], we present a new sensor capable of measuring directly the Zernike aberration modes introduced by a specimen. This modal sensor is particularly suited to applications in three-dimensional microscopy because of its inherent axial selectivity; only those wave fronts originating in the focal region contribute to the measured signal. Four wave-front sensor configurations are presented and their input response is characterized. Sensitivity matrices and axial responses are presented.

Method for the Generation of Arbitrary Complex Vector Wave Fronts

Optics Letters. Nov, 2002  |  Pubmed ID: 18033405

We describe an extremely versatile method that permits the accurate generation of arbitrary complex vector wave fields. We implement the scheme using a reconfigurable binary optical element that also permits additional fine tuning, such as aberration correction, to be performed. As examples we demonstrate the generation of both azimuthally and radially polarized beams.

Dynamic Axial-position Control of a Laser-trapped Particle by Wave-front Modification

Optics Letters. Mar, 2003  |  Pubmed ID: 12659281

The axial position of a laser-trapped particle has been controlled by modification of the wave front by means of a membrane deformable mirror. The mirror gives wave-front modulation in terms of Zernike polynomials. By modulation of the Zernike defocus term we can modulate the particle position under conditions of laser trapping. A polystyrene particle of 1-microm diameter was moved along the optical axis direction for a distance of 2370 nm in minimum steps of 55.4 nm. We also demonstrated particle oscillation along the optical axis by changing the focal position in a sinusoidal manner. From the frequency dependency of the amplitude of particle oscillation we determined the spring constant as 91.7 nN/m.

Fluorescence Imaging of Two-photon Linear Dichroism: Cholesterol Depletion Disrupts Molecular Orientation in Cell Membranes

Biophysical Journal. Jan, 2005  |  Pubmed ID: 15520272

The plasma membrane of cells is an ordered environment, giving rise to anisotropic orientation and restricted motion of molecules and proteins residing in the membrane. At the same time as being an organized matrix of defined structure, the cell membrane is heterogeneous and dynamic. Here we present a method where we use fluorescence imaging of linear dichroism to measure the orientation of molecules relative to the cell membrane. By detecting linear dichroism as well as fluorescence anisotropy, the orientation parameters are separated from dynamic properties such as rotational diffusion and homo energy transfer (energy migration). The sensitivity of the technique is enhanced by using two-photon excitation for higher photo-selection compared to single photon excitation. We show here that we can accurately image lipid organization in whole cell membranes and in delicate structures such as membrane nanotubes connecting two cells. The speed of our wide-field imaging system makes it possible to image changes in orientation and anisotropy occurring on a subsecond timescale. This is demonstrated by time-lapse studies showing that cholesterol depletion rapidly disrupts the orientation of a fluorophore located within the hydrophobic region of the cell membrane but not of a surface bound probe. This is consistent with cholesterol having an important role in stabilizing and ordering the lipid tails within the plasma membrane.

Quantitative 3D Mapping of Fluidic Temperatures Within Microchannel Networks Using Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging

Analytical Chemistry. Apr, 2006  |  Pubmed ID: 16579608

We describe a novel method for quantitatively mapping fluidic temperature with high spatial resolution within microchannels using fluorescence lifetime imaging in an optically sectioning microscope. Unlike intensity-based measurements, this approach is independent of experimental parameters, such as dye concentration and excitation/detection efficiency, thereby facilitating quantitative temperature mapping. Micrometer spatial resolution of 3D temperature distributions is readily achieved with an optical sectioning approach based on two-photon excitation. We demonstrate this technique for mapping of temperature variations across a microfluidic chip under different heating profiles and for mapping of the 3D temperature distribution across a single microchannel under applied flow conditions. This technique allows optimization of the chip design for miniaturized processes, such as on-chip PCR, for which precise temperature control is important.

Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging Provides Enhanced Contrast when Imaging the Phase-sensitive Dye Di-4-ANEPPDHQ in Model Membranes and Live Cells

Biophysical Journal. Jun, 2006  |  Pubmed ID: 16617080

We apply fluorescence lifetime imaging to the membrane phase-sensing dye di-4-ANEPPDHQ in model membranes and live cells. We show that the 1700 ps lifetime shift between liquid-disordered and liquid-ordered phases offers greater contrast than the 60 nm spectral shift previously reported. Detection of cholesterol-rich membrane microdomains is confirmed by observation of the temperature dependence of membrane order and by cholesterol depletion using methyl-beta-cyclodextrin.

Microclusters of Inhibitory Killer Immunoglobulin-like Receptor Signaling at Natural Killer Cell Immunological Synapses

The Journal of Cell Biology. Jul, 2006  |  Pubmed ID: 16801390

We report the supramolecular organization of killer Ig-like receptor (KIR) phosphorylation using a technique applicable to imaging phosphorylation of any green fluorescent protein-tagged receptor at an intercellular contact or immune synapse. Specifically, we use fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) to report Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) between GFP-tagged KIR2DL1 and a Cy3-tagged generic anti-phosphotyrosine monoclonal antibody. Visualization of KIR phosphorylation in natural killer (NK) cells contacting target cells expressing cognate major histocompatibility complex class I proteins revealed that inhibitory signaling is spatially restricted to the immune synapse. This explains how NK cells respond appropriately when simultaneously surveying susceptible and resistant target cells. More surprising, phosphorylated KIR was confined to microclusters within the aggregate of KIR, contrary to an expected homogeneous distribution of KIR signaling across the immune synapse. Also, yellow fluorescent protein-tagged Lck, a kinase important for KIR phosphorylation, accumulated in a multifocal distribution at inhibitory synapses. Spatial confinement of receptor phosphorylation within the immune synapse may be critical to how activating and inhibitory signals are integrated in NK cells.

Structurally Distinct Membrane Nanotubes Between Human Macrophages Support Long-distance Vesicular Traffic or Surfing of Bacteria

Journal of Immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950). Dec, 2006  |  Pubmed ID: 17142745

We report that two classes of membrane nanotubes between human monocyte-derived macrophages can be distinguished by their cytoskeletal structure and their functional properties. Thin membrane nanotubes contained only F-actin, whereas thicker nanotubes, i.e., those > approximately 0.7 microm in diameter, contained both F-actin and microtubules. Bacteria could be trapped and surf along thin, but not thick, membrane nanotubes toward connected macrophage cell bodies. Once at the cell body, bacteria could then be phagocytosed. The movement of bacteria is aided by a constitutive flow of the nanotube surface because streptavidin-coated beads were similarly able to traffic along nanotubes between surface-biotinylated macrophages. Mitochondria and intracellular vesicles, including late endosomes and lysosomes, could be detected within thick, but not thin, membrane nanotubes. Analysis from kymographs demonstrated that vesicles moved in a stepwise, bidirectional manner at approximately 1 microm/s, consistent with their traffic being mediated by the microtubules found only in thick nanotubes. Vesicular traffic in thick nanotubes and surfing of beads along thin nanotubes were both stopped upon the addition of azide, demonstrating that both processes require ATP. However, microtubule destabilizing agents colchicine or nocodazole abrogated vesicular transport but not the flow of the nanotube surface, confirming that distinct cytoskeletal structures of nanotubes give rise to different functional properties. Thus, membrane nanotubes between macrophages are more complex than unvarying ubiquitous membrane tethers and facilitate several means for distal interactions between immune cells.

Rapid Hyperspectral Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging

Microscopy Research and Technique. May, 2007  |  Pubmed ID: 17366615

We report a rapid hyperspectral fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) instrument that exploits high-speed FLIM technology in a line-scanning microscope. We demonstrate the acquisition of whole-field optically sectioned hyperspectral fluorescence lifetime image stacks (with 32 spectral bins) in less than 40 s and illustrate its application to unstained biological tissue.

Fluorescence-lifetime Imaging of DNA-dye Interactions Within Continuous-flow Microfluidic Systems

Angewandte Chemie (International Ed. in English). 2007  |  Pubmed ID: 17436333

Optical Techniques for Imaging Membrane Lipid Microdomains in Living Cells

Seminars in Cell & Developmental Biology. Oct, 2007  |  Pubmed ID: 17728161

Lateral organisation of cellular membranes, particularly the plasma membrane, is of benefit to the cell as it allows complicated cellular processes to be regulated and efficient. For example, trafficking and secretion of molecules can be targeted and directed, cells polarised and signalling events modulated and propagated. The fluid mosaic model allows for significant heterogeneity on the part of the lipids themselves and of membrane associated proteins. By exploiting the tendency of complex lipid bilayers to undergo spontaneous or induced phase-separation into non-miscible domains, the cell could achieve this desired spatial organisation. While phase-separation is readily observed in simple, artificial bilayers, its occurrence in physiological membranes remains controversial. This stems mainly from our inability to image lipid microdomains directly - possibly due to their small size, short lifespan and/or morphological similarity to the bulk membrane. In this review, we seek to examine the techniques used to try to image membrane lipid microdomains, concentrating mainly on optical microscopy techniques that are applicable to live cells. We also look at novel emerging instruments and methods that promise to overcome our current technological limitations and shed new light on these important structures.

Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging by Using Time-gated Data Acquisition

Applied Optics. Oct, 2007  |  Pubmed ID: 17952172

The use of the time gating technique for lifetime reconstruction in the Fourier domain is a novel technique. Time gating provides sufficient data points in the time domain for reliable application of the Fourier transform, which is essential for the time deconvolution of the system of the integral equations employed in the reconstruction. The Fourier domain telegraph equation is employed to model the light transport, which allows a sufficiently broad interval of frequencies to be covered. Reconstructed images contain enough information needed for recovering the lifetime distribution in a sample for any given frequency within the megahertz-gigahertz band. The use of this technique is essential for recovering time-dependent information in fluorescence imaging. This technique was applied in reconstruction of the lifetime distribution of four tubes filled with Rhodamine 6G embedded inside a highly scattering slab. Relatively accurate fluorescence lifetime reconstruction demonstrates the effectiveness and the potential of the proposed technique.

Excitation-resolved Hyperspectral Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging Using a UV-extended Supercontinuum Source

Optics Letters. Dec, 2007  |  Pubmed ID: 18059949

We present a time-gated, optically sectioned, hyperspectral fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) microscope incorporating a tunable supercontinuum excitation source extending into the UV. The system is capable of resolving the excitation spectrum, emission spectrum, and fluorescence decays in an optically sectioned image.

Stimulated Emission Depletion Microscopy with a Supercontinuum Source and Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging

Optics Letters. Jan, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 18197209

We demonstrate stimulated emission depletion (STED) microscopy implemented in a laser scanning confocal microscope using excitation light derived from supercontinuum generation in a microstructured optical fiber. Images with resolution improvement beyond the far-field diffraction limit in both the lateral and axial directions were acquired by scanning overlapped excitation and depletion beams in two dimensions using the flying spot scanner of a commercially available laser scanning confocal microscope. The spatial properties of the depletion beam were controlled holographically using a programmable spatial light modulator, which can rapidly change between different STED imaging modes and also compensate for aberrations in the optical path. STED fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy is demonstrated through the use of time-correlated single photon counting.

Improved Sectioning in a Slit Scanning Confocal Microscope

Optics Letters. Aug, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 18709096

We describe a simple implementation of a slit scanning confocal microscope to obtain an axial resolution better than that of a point-scanning confocal microscope. Under slit illumination, images of a fluorescent object are captured using an array detector instead of a line detector so that out-of-focus light is recorded and then subtracted from the adjacent images. Axial resolution after background subtraction is 2.2 times better than the slit confocal resolution, and out-of-focus image suppression is calculated to attenuate with defocus faster by 1 order of magnitude than in the point confocal case.

Three-dimensional Molecular Mapping in a Microfluidic Mixing Device Using Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging

Optics Letters. Aug, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 18709122

Fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) is used to quantitatively map the concentration of a small molecule in three dimensions in a microfluidic mixing device. The resulting experimental data are compared with computational fluid-dynamics (CFD) simulations. A line-scanning semiconfocal FLIM microscope allows the full mixing profile to be imaged in a single scan with submicrometer resolution over an arbitrary channel length from the point of confluence. Following experimental and CFD optimization, mixing times down to 1.3+/-0.4 ms were achieved with the single-layer microfluidic device.

High-speed High-resolution Imaging of Intercellular Immune Synapses Using Optical Tweezers

Biophysical Journal. Nov, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 18723590

Imaging in any plane other than horizontal in a microscope typically requires a reconstruction from multiple optical slices that significantly decreases the spatial and temporal resolution that can be achieved. This can limit the precision with which molecular events can be detected, for example, at intercellular contacts. This has been a major issue for the imaging of immune synapses between live cells, which has generally required the reconstruction of en face intercellular synapses, yielding spatial resolution significantly above the diffraction limit and updating at only a few frames per minute. Strategies to address this issue have usually involved using artificial activating substrates such as antibody-coated slides or supported planar lipid bilayers, but synapses with these surrogate stimuli may not wholly resemble immune synapses between two cells. Here, we combine optical tweezers and confocal microscopy to realize generally applicable, high-speed, high-resolution imaging of almost any arbitrary plane of interest. Applied to imaging immune synapses in live-cell conjugates, this has enabled the characterization of complex behavior of highly dynamic clusters of T cell receptors at the T cell/antigen-presenting cell intercellular immune synapse and revealed the presence of numerous, highly dynamic long receptor-rich filopodial structures within inhibitory Natural Killer cell immune synapses.

Multiplexed FRET to Image Multiple Signaling Events in Live Cells

Biophysical Journal. Nov, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 18757561

We report what to our knowledge is a novel approach for simultaneous imaging of two different Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) sensors in the same cell with minimal spectral cross talk. Previous methods based on spectral ratiometric imaging of the two FRET sensors have been limited by the availability of suitably bright acceptors for the second FRET pair and the spectral cross talk incurred when measuring in four spectral windows. In contrast to spectral ratiometric imaging, fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) requires measurement of the donor fluorescence only and is independent of emission from the acceptor. By combining FLIM-FRET of the novel red-shifted TagRFP/mPlum FRET pair with spectral ratiometric imaging of an ECFP/Venus pair we were thus able to maximize the spectral separation between our chosen fluorophores while at the same time overcoming the low quantum yield of the far red acceptor mPlum. Using this technique, we could read out a TagRFP/mPlum intermolecular FRET sensor for reporting on small Ras GTP-ase activation in live cells after epidermal growth factor stimulation and an ECFP/Venus Cameleon FRET sensor for monitoring calcium transients within the same cells. The combination of spectral ratiometric imaging of ECFP/Venus and high-speed FLIM-FRET of TagRFP/mPlum can thus increase the spectral bandwidth available and provide robust imaging of multiple FRET sensors within the same cell. Furthermore, since FLIM does not require equal stoichiometries of donor and acceptor, this approach can be used to report on both unimolecular FRET biosensors and protein-protein interactions with the same cell.

Laser-pumped Endoscopic Illumination Source

Conference Proceedings : ... Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. Annual Conference. 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 19163100

Light sources currently employed in endoscopy have a number of disadvantages including inefficiency, high temperature, non-uniform illumination, and the production of shadow-less images. In this paper, we present a novel endoscopic illumination source, based on the use of a blue-violet laser diode in combination with a yellow phosphor for the production of white light. By using this approach, the resulting illumination source is more compact and potentially more ergonomic than those currently used in endoscopy. Spectral measurements of the emitted light indicate that it has a colour similar to that of daylight, and images obtained under illumination with this light source indicate that it provides more uniform illumination and sharper shadows than standard endoscopic light sources.

Fluorescence Lifetime Optical Projection Tomography

Journal of Biophotonics. Oct, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 19343662

We describe a quantitative fluorescence projection tomography technique which measures the 3-D fluorescence lifetime distribution in optically cleared specimens up 1 cm in diameter. This is achieved by acquiring a series of wide-field time-gated images at different relative time delays with respect to a train of excitation pulses, at a number of projection angles. For each time delay, the 3-D time-gated intensity distribution is reconstructed using a filtered back projection algorithm and the fluorescence lifetime subsequently determined for each reconstructed horizontal plane by iterative fitting to a mono-exponential decay. Due to its inherently ratiometric nature, fluorescence lifetime is robust against intensity based artefacts as well as producing a quantitative measure of the fluorescence signal. We present a 3-D fluorescence lifetime reconstruction of a mouse embryo labelled with an alexa-488 conjugated antibody targeted to the neurofilament, which clearly differentiates between the extrinsic label and the autofluorescence, particularly from the heart and dorsal aorta.

A Compact, Multidimensional Spectrofluorometer Exploiting Supercontinuum Generation

Journal of Biophotonics. Dec, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 19343675

We report a novel, compact and automated multidimensional spectrofluorometer that exploits a fibre-laser-pumped ultrafast supercontinuum source to provide resolution with respect to intensity, excitation and emission wavelength, decay time and polarisation. This instrument has been applied to study the photophysics of the phase-sensitive membrane probe di-4-ANEPPDHQ and to characterise protein-protein interactions via Förster resonance energy transfer. It can be applied to in situ measurements via a fibre-optic probe in medical and other contexts and is demonstrated here to provide a comprehensive characterisation of tissue autofluorescence.

High Speed Unsupervised Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging Confocal Multiwell Plate Reader for High Content Analysis

Journal of Biophotonics. Dec, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 19343677

We report an automated optically sectioning fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) multiwell plate reader for high content analysis (HCA) in drug discovery and accelerated research in cell biology. The system utilizes a Nipkow disc confocal microscope and performs unsupervised FLIM with autofocus, automatic setting of acquisition parameters and automated localisation of cells in the field of view. We demonstrate its applications to test dye solutions, fixed and live cells and FLIM-FRET.

Continuous-flow Polymerase Chain Reaction of Single-copy DNA in Microfluidic Microdroplets

Analytical Chemistry. Jan, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 19055421

We present a high throughput microfluidic device for continuous-flow polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in water-in-oil droplets of nanoliter volumes. The circular design of this device allows droplets to pass through alternating temperature zones and complete 34 cycles of PCR in only 17 min, avoiding temperature cycling of the entire device. The temperatures for the applied two-temperature PCR protocol can be adjusted according to requirements of template and primers. These temperatures were determined with fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) inside the droplets, exploiting the temperature-dependent fluorescence lifetime of rhodamine B. The successful amplification of an 85 base-pair long template from four different start concentrations was demonstrated. Analysis of the product by gel-electrophoresis, sequencing, and real-time PCR showed that the amplification is specific and the amplification factors of up to 5 x 10(6)-fold are comparable to amplification factors obtained in a benchtop PCR machine. The high efficiency allows amplification from a single molecule of DNA per droplet. This device holds promise for convenient integration with other microfluidic devices and adds a critical missing component to the laboratory-on-a-chip toolkit.

Live Cell Linear Dichroism Imaging Reveals Extensive Membrane Ruffling Within the Docking Structure of Natural Killer Cell Immune Synapses

Biophysical Journal. Jan, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 19167281

We have applied fluorescence imaging of two-photon linear dichroism to measure the subresolution organization of the cell membrane during formation of the activating (cytolytic) natural killer (NK) cell immune synapse (IS). This approach revealed that the NK cell plasma membrane is convoluted into ruffles at the periphery, but not in the center of a mature cytolytic NK cell IS. Time-lapse imaging showed that the membrane ruffles formed at the initial point of contact between NK cells and target cells and then spread radialy across the intercellular contact as the size of the IS increased, becoming absent from the center of the mature synapse. Understanding the role of such extensive membrane ruffling in the assembly of cytolytic synapses is an intriguing new goal.

A Microfluidic Platform for Probing Single Cell Plasma Membranes Using Optically Trapped Smart Droplet Microtools (SDMs)

Lab on a Chip. Apr, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 19350091

We recently introduced a novel platform based upon optically trapped lipid coated oil droplets (Smart Droplet Microtools-SDMs) that were able to form membrane tethers upon fusion with the plasma membrane of single cells. Material transfer from the plasma membrane to the droplet via the tether was seen to occur. Here we present a customised version of the SDM approach based upon detergent coated droplets deployed within a microfluidic format. These droplets are able to differentially solubilise the plasma membrane of single cells with spatial selectivity and without forming membrane tethers. The microfluidic format facilitates separation of the target cells from the bulk SDM population and from downstream analysis modules. Material transfer from the cell to the SDM was monitored by tracking membrane localized EGFP.

A Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging Scanning Confocal Endomicroscope

Journal of Biophotonics. Jan, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 19787682

We describe a fluorescence lifetime imaging endomicroscope employing a fibre bundle probe and time correlated single photon counting. Preliminary images of stained pollen grains, eGFP-labelled cells exhibiting Förster resonant energy transfer and tissue autofluorescence are presented.

Multi-site Optical Excitation Using ChR2 and Micro-LED Array

Journal of Neural Engineering. Feb, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20075504

Studying neuronal processes such as synaptic summation, dendritic physiology and neural network dynamics requires complex spatiotemporal control over neuronal activities. The recent development of neural photosensitization tools, such as channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2), offers new opportunities for non-invasive, flexible and cell-specific neuronal stimulation. Previously, complex spatiotemporal control of photosensitized neurons has been limited by the lack of appropriate optical devices which can provide 2D stimulation with sufficient irradiance. Here we present a simple and powerful solution that is based on an array of high-power micro light-emitting diodes (micro-LEDs) that can generate arbitrary optical excitation patterns on a neuronal sample with micrometre and millisecond resolution. We first describe the design and fabrication of the system and characterize its capabilities. We then demonstrate its capacity to elicit precise electrophysiological responses in cultured and slice neurons expressing ChR2.

Dynamics of Subsynaptic Vesicles and Surface Microclusters at the Immunological Synapse

Science Signaling. 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20460647

Imaging studies have identified clusters of kinases and adaptor proteins that serve as centers of signaling at the contact points between T cells and antigen-presenting cells (APCs). Here, we report that the kinase ZAP-70 and the adaptor proteins LAT and SLP-76 accumulated in separate clusters at the interface between T cells and coverslips coated with a stimulatory antibody against CD3, a component of the T cell antigen receptor complex. A fraction of LAT was detected in motile vesicles that repeatedly moved to surface microclusters of SLP-76 and the adaptor protein GADS (growth factor receptor-bound protein-related adaptor downstream of Shc), where they exhibited decreased motility. LAT molecules in which the residues tyrosine 171 and tyrosine 191 (which are required for the binding of LAT to GADS) were mutated to phenylalanine did not dwell at clusters of SLP-76. At immunological synapses, LAT-containing vesicles also colocalized with microclusters of SLP-76, as detected in experiments in which laser tweezers were used to position T cell-APC conjugates vertically for high-resolution imaging. Phosphorylation of LAT was most prominent when vesicular LAT colocalized with SLP-76. Indeed, the abundance of phosphorylated LAT within a microcluster of SLP-76 was greatest in those clusters that had more recent interactions with LAT-containing vesicles. Finally, negative signals by the inhibitory receptor ILT2 disrupted the assembly of SLP-76-containing microclusters. Together, these data show that the movement of LAT-containing vesicles is linked to the organization of protein microclusters and suggest an important role for vesicular LAT in the SLP-76 signalosome.

High Plasma Membrane Lipid Order Imaged at the Immunological Synapse Periphery in Live T Cells

Molecular Membrane Biology. Aug, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20540668

Cholesterol- and glycosphingolipid-enriched membrane lipid microdomains, frequently called lipid rafts, are thought to play an important role in the spatial and temporal organization of immunological synapses. Higher ordering of lipid acyl chains was suggested for these entities and imaging of membrane order in living cells during activation can therefore help to understand the mechanisms responsible for the supramolecular organization of molecules involved in the activation of T cells. Here, we employ the phase-sensitive membrane dye di-4-ANEPPDHQ together with a variety of spectrally-resolved microscopy techniques, including 2-channel ratiometric TIRF microscopy and fluorescence lifetime imaging, to characterize membrane order at the T cell immunological synapse at high spatial and temporal resolution in live cells at physiological temperature. We find that higher membrane order resides at the immunological synapse periphery where proximal signalling through the immunoreceptors and accessory proteins in microclusters has previously been shown to take place. The observed spatial patterning of membrane order in the immunological synapse depends on active receptor signalling.

Wide-field Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging of Cancer

Biomedical Optics Express. Aug, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 21258496

Optical imaging of tissue autofluorescence has the potential to provide rapid label-free screening and detection of surface tumors for clinical applications, including when combined with endoscopy. Quantitative imaging of intensity-based contrast is notoriously difficult and spectrally resolved imaging does not always provide sufficient contrast. We demonstrate that fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) applied to intrinsic tissue autofluorescence can directly contrast a range of surface tissue tumors, including in gastrointestinal tissues, using compact, clinically deployable instrumentation achieving wide-field fluorescence lifetime images of unprecedented clarity. Statistically significant contrast is observed between cancerous and healthy colon tissue for FLIM with excitation at 355 nm. To illustrate the clinical potential, wide-field fluorescence lifetime images of unstained ex vivo tissue have been acquired at near video rate, which is an important step towards real-time FLIM for diagnostic and interoperative imaging, including for screening and image-guided biopsy applications.

Membrane Environment Exerts an Important Influence on Rac-mediated Activation of Phospholipase Cγ2

Molecular and Cellular Biology. Mar, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21245382

We performed analyses of the molecular mechanisms involved in the regulation of phospholipase Cγ2 (PLCγ2). We identified several regions in the PLCγ-specific array, γSA, that contribute to autoinhibition in the basal state by occlusion of the catalytic domain. While the activation of PLCγ2 by Rac2 requires stable translocation to the membrane, the removal of the domains required for membrane translocation in the context of an enzyme with impaired autoinhibition generated constitutive, highly active PLC in cells. We further tested the possibility that the interaction of PLCγ2 with its activator protein Rac2 was sufficient for activation through the release of autoinhibition. However, we found that Rac2 binding in the absence of lipid surfaces was not able to activate PLCγ2. Together with other observations, these data suggest that an important consequence of Rac2 binding and translocation to the membrane is that membrane proximity, on its own or together with Rac2, has a role in the release of autoinhibition, resulting in interfacial activation.

FLIM FRET Technology for Drug Discovery: Automated Multiwell-plate High-content Analysis, Multiplexed Readouts and Application in Situ

Chemphyschem : a European Journal of Chemical Physics and Physical Chemistry. Feb, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21337485

A fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) technology platform intended to read out changes in Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) efficiency is presented for the study of protein interactions across the drug-discovery pipeline. FLIM provides a robust, inherently ratiometric imaging modality for drug discovery that could allow the same sensor constructs to be translated from automated cell-based assays through small transparent organisms such as zebrafish to mammals. To this end, an automated FLIM multiwell-plate reader is described for high content analysis of fixed and live cells, tomographic FLIM in zebrafish and FLIM FRET of live cells via confocal endomicroscopy. For cell-based assays, an exemplar application reading out protein aggregation using FLIM FRET is presented, and the potential for multiple simultaneous FLIM (FRET) readouts in microscopy is illustrated.

A First Step Towards Practical Single Cell Proteomics: a Microfluidic Antibody Capture Chip with TIRF Detection

Lab on a Chip. Apr, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21347466

We have developed a generic platform to undertake the analysis of protein copy number from single cells. The approach described here is 'all-optical' whereby single cells are manipulated into separate analysis chambers using an optical trap; single cells are lysed by a shock wave caused by laser-induced microcavitation, and the protein released from a single cell is measured by total internal reflection microscopy as it is bound to micro-printed antibody spots within the device. The platform was tested using GFP transfected cells and the relative precision of the measurement method was determined to be 88%. Single cell measurements were also made on a breast cancer cell line to measure the relative levels of unlabelled human tumour suppressor protein p53 using a chip incorporating an antibody sandwich assay format. These results suggest that this is a viable method for measuring relative protein levels in single cells.

Adaptive Phase Compensation for Ultracompact Laser Scanning Endomicroscopy

Optics Letters. May, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21540976

We present an approach to laser scanning endomicroscopy that requires no moving parts and can be implemented with no distal scanners or optics, permitting extremely compact endoscopic probes to be developed. Our approach utilizes a spatial light modulator to correct for phase variations across a fiber imaging bundle and to encode for arbitrary wavefronts at the distal end of the fiber bundle. Thus, it is possible to realize both focusing and beam scanning at the output of the fiber bundle with no distal components. We present proof of principle results to illustrate three-dimensional scanning of the focal spot and exemplar images of a United States Air Force resolution test chart.

Interferometry Using Binary Holograms Without High Order Diffraction Effects

Optics Letters. Jun, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21686019

We describe a technique for a phase-stepping interferometer based on programmable binary phase holograms, particularly useful for optical testing of aspheric or free-form surfaces. It is well-known that binary holograms can be used to generate reference surfaces for interferometry, but a major problem is that cross talk from higher diffraction orders and aliasing can reduce the fidelity of the system. Here, we propose a new encoding technique which improves the accuracy of the technique and demonstrate its implementation using a binary liquid crystal spatial light modulator.

Remodelling of Cortical Actin Where Lytic Granules Dock at Natural Killer Cell Immune Synapses Revealed by Super-resolution Microscopy

PLoS Biology. Sep, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21931537

Natural Killer (NK) cells are innate immune cells that secrete lytic granules to directly kill virus-infected or transformed cells across an immune synapse. However, a major gap in understanding this process is in establishing how lytic granules pass through the mesh of cortical actin known to underlie the NK cell membrane. Research has been hampered by the resolution of conventional light microscopy, which is too low to resolve cortical actin during lytic granule secretion. Here we use two high-resolution imaging techniques to probe the synaptic organisation of NK cell receptors and filamentous (F)-actin. A combination of optical tweezers and live cell confocal microscopy reveals that microclusters of NKG2D assemble into a ring-shaped structure at the centre of intercellular synapses, where Vav1 and Grb2 also accumulate. Within this ring-shaped organisation of NK cell proteins, lytic granules accumulate for secretion. Using 3D-structured illumination microscopy (3D-SIM) to gain super-resolution of ~100 nm, cortical actin was detected in a central region of the NK cell synapse irrespective of whether activating or inhibitory signals dominate. Strikingly, the periodicity of the cortical actin mesh increased in specific domains at the synapse when the NK cell was activated. Two-colour super-resolution imaging revealed that lytic granules docked precisely in these domains which were also proximal to where the microtubule-organising centre (MTOC) polarised. Together, these data demonstrate that remodelling of the cortical actin mesh occurs at the central region of the cytolytic NK cell immune synapse. This is likely to occur for other types of cell secretion and also emphasises the importance of emerging super-resolution imaging technology for revealing new biology.

Application of Ultrafast Gold Luminescence to Measuring the Instrument Response Function for Multispectral Multiphoton Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging

Optics Express. Jul, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21934746

When performing multiphoton fluorescence lifetime imaging in multiple spectral emission channels, an instrument response function must be acquired in each channel if accurate measurements of complex fluorescence decays are to be performed. Although this can be achieved using the reference reconvolution technique, it is difficult to identify suitable fluorophores with a mono-exponential fluorescence decay across a broad emission spectrum. We present a solution to this problem by measuring the IRF using the ultrafast luminescence from gold nanorods. We show that ultrafast gold nanorod luminescence allows the IRF to be directly obtained in multiple spectral channels simultaneously across a wide spectral range. We validate this approach by presenting an analysis of multispectral autofluorescence FLIM data obtained from human skin ex vivo.

Quantification of Cellular Autofluorescence of Human Skin Using Multiphoton Tomography and Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging in Two Spectral Detection Channels

Biomedical Optics Express. Dec, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 22162820

We explore the diagnostic potential of imaging endogenous fluorophores using two photon microscopy and fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) in human skin with two spectral detection channels. Freshly excised benign dysplastic nevi (DN) and malignant nodular Basal Cell Carcinomas (nBCCs) were excited at 760 nm. The resulting fluorescence signal was binned manually on a cell by cell basis. This improved the reliability of fitting using a double exponential decay model and allowed the fluorescence signatures from different cell populations within the tissue to be identified and studied. We also performed a direct comparison between different diagnostic groups. A statistically significant difference between the median mean fluorescence lifetime of 2.79 ns versus 2.52 ns (blue channel, 300-500 nm) and 2.08 ns versus 1.33 ns (green channel, 500-640 nm) was found between nBCCs and DN respectively, using the Mann-Whitney U test (p < 0.01). Further differences in the distribution of fluorescence lifetime parameters and inter-patient variability are also discussed.

Multimodal Biophotonic Workstation for Live Cell Analysis

Journal of Biophotonics. Jan, 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 21842486

A reliable description and quantification of the complex physiology and reactions of living cells requires a multimodal analysis with various measurement techniques. We have investigated the integration of different techniques into a biophotonic workstation that can provide biological researchers with these capabilities. The combination of a micromanipulation tool with three different imaging principles is accomplished in a single inverted microscope which makes the results from all the techniques directly comparable. Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) cells were manipulated by optical tweezers while the feedback was directly analyzed by fluorescence lifetime imaging, digital holographic microscopy and dynamic phase-contrast microscopy.

In Vivo Measurements of Diffuse Reflectance and Time-resolved Autofluorescence Emission Spectra of Basal Cell Carcinomas

Journal of Biophotonics. Mar, 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 22308093

We present a clinical investigation of diffuse reflectance and time-resolved autofluorescence spectra of skin cancer with an emphasis on basal cell carcinoma. A total of 25 patients were measured using a compact steady-state diffuse reflectance/fluorescence spectrometer and a fibre-optic-coupled multispectral time-resolved spectrofluorometer. Measurements were performed in vivo prior to surgical excision of the investigated region. Singular value decomposition was used to reduce the dimensionality of steady state diffuse reflectance and fluorescence spectra. Linear discriminant analysis was then applied to the measurements of basal cell carcinomas (BCCs) and used to predict the tissue disease state with a leave-one-out methodology. This approach was able to correctly diagnose 87% of the BCCs. With 445 nm excitation a decrease in the spectrally averaged fluorescence lifetime was observed between normal tissue and BCC lesions with a mean value of 886 ps. Furthermore, the fluorescence lifetime for BCCs was lower than that of the surrounding healthy tissue in all cases and statistical analysis of the data revealed that this decrease was significant (p = 0.002).

Multiphoton Multispectral Fluorescence Lifetime Tomography for the Evaluation of Basal Cell Carcinomas

PloS One. 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 22984428

We present the first detailed study using multispectral multiphoton fluorescence lifetime imaging to differentiate basal cell carcinoma cells (BCCs) from normal keratinocytes. Images were acquired from 19 freshly excised BCCs and 27 samples of normal skin (in & ex vivo). Features from fluorescence lifetime images were used to discriminate BCCs with a sensitivity/specificity of 79%/93% respectively. A mosaic of BCC fluorescence lifetime images covering >1 mm(2) is also presented, demonstrating the potential for tumour margin delineation. Using 10,462 manually segmented cells from the image data, we quantify the cellular morphology and spectroscopic differences between BCCs and normal skin for the first time. Statistically significant increases were found in the fluorescence lifetimes of cells from BCCs in all spectral channels, ranging from 19.9% (425-515 nm spectral emission) to 39.8% (620-655 nm emission). A discriminant analysis based diagnostic algorithm allowed the fraction of cells classified as malignant to be calculated for each patient. This yielded a receiver operator characteristic area under the curve for the detection of BCC of 0.83. We have used both morphological and spectroscopic parameters to discriminate BCC from normal skin, and provide a comprehensive base for how this technique could be used for BCC assessment in clinical practice.

Automated Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging Plate Reader and Its Application to Förster Resonant Energy Transfer Readout of Gag Protein Aggregation

Journal of Biophotonics. May, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 23184449

Fluorescence lifetime measurements can provide quantitative readouts of local fluorophore environment and can be applied to biomolecular interactions via Förster resonant energy transfer (FRET). Fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) can therefore provide a high content analysis (HCA) modality to map protein-protein interactions (PPIs) with applications in drug discovery, systems biology and basic research. We present here an automated multiwell plate reader able to perform rapid unsupervised optically sectioned FLIM of fixed and live biological samples and illustrate its potential to assay PPIs through application to Gag protein aggregation during the HIV life cycle. We demonstrate both hetero-FRET and homo-FRET readouts of protein aggregation and report the first quantitative evaluation of a FLIM HCA assay by generating dose response curves through addition of an inhibitor of Gag myristoylation. Z' factors exceeding 0.6 are realised for this FLIM FRET assay.

Double Pass, Common Path Method for Arbitrary Polarization Control Using a Ferroelectric Liquid Crystal Spatial Light Modulator

Optics Letters. Apr, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 23546237

We present a method for arbitrary control of the polarization of a light beam. Our method uses two holograms on a binary ferroelectric liquid crystal spatial light modulator (FLCSLM), and so has the potential to allow polarization state switching at kilohertz rates. Unlike previous methods that achieve polarization control using FLCSLMs, our method is common path and requires only the simplest optical components. For this reason, the method is very easy to setup, align, and maintain. In addition, it has the ability to modulate unpolarized input light. We demonstrate the formation of radially, azimuthally, and circularly polarized beams by imaging their focal spots formed at low numerical aperture.

Scaling Advantages and Constraints in Miniaturized Capture Assays for Single Cell Protein Analysis

Lab on a Chip. Jun, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 23592024

Measuring protein expression in single cells is the basis of single cell proteomics. The sensitivity and dynamic range of a single cell immunoassay should ideally be such that proteins that are expressed between 1-10(6) copies per cell can be detected and counted. We have investigated the effect of miniaturizing antibody microarrays by reducing capture spot sizes from 100 μm to 15 μm using dip-pen nanolithography. We demonstrate that protocols developed for printing and passivating antibody capture spots using conventional pin-based contact printing can be directly transferred to dip-pen lithography whilst retaining the capture activity per unit area. Using a simple kinetic model, we highlight how the limit of detection and dynamic range of a sandwich immunoassay, respectively, increase and decrease when spot size is reduced. However, we show that reducing spot size is more effective than increasing assay chamber volume when seeking to multiplex such a microfluidic immunoassay. Although we make particular reference to single cell microfluidic immunoassays, the topics discussed here are applicable to capture assays in general.

3-D Stimulated Emission Depletion Microscopy with Programmable Aberration Correction

Journal of Biophotonics. Jan, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 23788459

We present a stimulated emission depletion (STED) microscope that provides 3-D super resolution by simultaneous depletion using beams with both a helical phase profile for enhanced lateral resolution and an annular phase profile to enhance axial resolution. The 3-D depletion point spread function is realised using a single spatial light modulator that can also be programmed to compensate for aberrations in the microscope and the sample. We apply it to demonstrate the first 3-D super-resolved imaging of an immunological synapse between a Natural Killer cell and its target cell.

Absolute Quantification of Protein Copy Number Using a Single-molecule-sensitive Microarray

The Analyst. Jul, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 24676423

We report the use of a microfluidic microarray incorporating single molecule detection for the absolute quantification of protein copy number in solution. In this paper we demonstrate protocols which enable calibration free detection for two protein detection assays. An EGFP protein assay has a limit of detection of <30 EGFP proteins in a microfluidic analysis chamber (limited by non-specific background binding), with a measured limit of linearity of approximately 6 × 10(6) molecules of analyte in the analysis chamber and a dynamic range of >5 orders of magnitude in protein concentration. An antibody sandwich assay was used to detect unlabelled human tumour suppressor protein p53 with a limit of detection of approximately 21 p53 proteins and a dynamic range of >3 orders of magnitude. We show that these protocols can be used to calibrate data retrospectively to determine the absolute protein copy number at the single cell level in two human cancer cell lines.

The Grab-and-drop Protocol: a Novel Strategy for Membrane Protein Isolation and Reconstitution from Single Cells

The Analyst. Jul, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 24706068

We present a rapid and robust technique for the sampling of membrane-associated proteins from the surface of a single, live cell and their subsequent deposition onto a solid-supported lipid bilayer. As a proof of principle, this method has been used to extract green fluorescent protein (EGFP) labelled K-ras proteins located at the inner leaflet of the plasma membrane of colon carcinoma cells and to transfer them to an S-layer supported lipid bilayer system. The technique is non-destructive, meaning that both the cell and proteins are intact after the sampling operation, offering the potential for repeated measurements of the same cell of interest. This system provides the ideal tool for the investigation of cellular heterogeneity, as well as a platform for the investigation of rare cell types such as circulating tumour cells.

Experimental Proof of Concept of Nanoparticle-assisted STED

Nano Letters. Aug, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 25053232

We imaged core-shell nanoparticles, consisting of a dye-doped silica core covered with a layer of gold, with a stimulated emission depletion, fluorescence lifetime imaging (STED-FLIM) microscope. Because of the field enhancement provided by the localized surface plasmon resonance of the gold shell, we demonstrate a reduction of the STED depletion power required to obtain resolution improvement by a factor of 4. This validates the concept of nanoparticle-assisted STED (NP-STED), where hybrid dye-plasmonic nanoparticles are used as labels for STED in order to decrease the depletion powers required for subwavelength imaging.

Analysis of DNA Binding and Nucleotide Flipping Kinetics Using Two-color Two-photon Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging Microscopy

Analytical Chemistry. Nov, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 25303623

Uracil DNA glycosylase plays a key role in DNA maintenance via base excision repair. Its role is to bind to DNA, locate unwanted uracil, and remove it using a base flipping mechanism. To date, kinetic analysis of this complex process has been achieved using stopped-flow analysis but, due to limitations in instrumental dead-times, discrimination of the "binding" and "base flipping" steps is compromised. Herein we present a novel approach for analyzing base flipping using a microfluidic mixer and two-color two-photon (2c2p) fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM). We demonstrate that 2c2p FLIM can simultaneously monitor binding and base flipping kinetics within the continuous flow microfluidic mixer, with results showing good agreement with computational fluid dynamics simulations.

Correction Approach for Delta Function Convolution Model Fitting of Fluorescence Decay Data in the Case of a Monoexponential Reference Fluorophore

Journal of Fluorescence. Sep, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 26063535

A correction is proposed to the Delta function convolution method (DFCM) for fitting a multiexponential decay model to time-resolved fluorescence decay data using a monoexponential reference fluorophore. A theoretical analysis of the discretised DFCM multiexponential decay function shows the presence an extra exponential decay term with the same lifetime as the reference fluorophore that we denote as the residual reference component. This extra decay component arises as a result of the discretised convolution of one of the two terms in the modified model function required by the DFCM. The effect of the residual reference component becomes more pronounced when the fluorescence lifetime of the reference is longer than all of the individual components of the specimen under inspection and when the temporal sampling interval is not negligible compared to the quantity (τR (-1) - τ(-1))(-1), where τR and τ are the fluorescence lifetimes of the reference and the specimen respectively. It is shown that the unwanted residual reference component results in systematic errors when fitting simulated data and that these errors are not present when the proposed correction is applied. The correction is also verified using real data obtained from experiment.

Sonic Hedgehog Multimerization: a Self-organizing Event Driven by Post-translational Modifications?

Molecular Membrane Biology. 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 26312641

Sonic hedgehog (Shh) is a morphogen active during vertebrate development and tissue homeostasis in adulthood. Dysregulation of the Shh signalling pathway is known to incite carcinogenesis. Due to the highly lipophilic nature of this protein imparted by two post-translational modifications, Shh's method of transit through the aqueous extracellular milieu has been a long-standing conundrum, prompting the proposition of numerous hypotheses to explain the manner of its displacement from the surface of the producing cell. Detection of high molecular-weight complexes of Shh in the intercellular environment has indicated that the protein achieves this by accumulating into multimeric structures prior to release from producing cells. The mechanism of assembly of the multimers, however, has hitherto remained mysterious and contentious. Here, with the aid of high-resolution optical imaging and post-translational modification mutants of Shh, we show that the C-terminal cholesterol and the N-terminal palmitate adducts contribute to the assembly of large multimers and regulate their shape. Moreover, we show that small Shh multimers are produced in the absence of any lipid modifications. Based on an assessment of the distribution of various dimensional characteristics of individual Shh clusters, in parallel with deductions about the kinetics of release of the protein from the producing cells, we conclude that multimerization is driven by self-assembly underpinned by the law of mass action. We speculate that the lipid modifications augment the size of the multimolecular complexes through prolonging their association with the exoplasmic membrane.

Tunable Fibre-coupled Multiphoton Microscopy with a Negative Curvature Fibre

Journal of Biophotonics. Jul, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 26989868

Negative curvature fibre (NCF) guides light in its core by inhibiting the coupling of core and cladding modes. In this work, an NCF was designed and fabricated to transmit ultrashort optical pulses for multiphoton microscopy with low group velocity dispersion (GVD) at 800 nm. Its attenuation was measured to be <0.3 dB m(-1) over the range 600-850 nm and the GVD was -180 ± 70 fs(2)  m(-1) at 800 nm. Using an average fibre output power of ∼20 mW and pulse repetition rate of 80 MHz, the NCF enabled pulses with a duration of <200 fs to be transmitted through a length of 1.5 m of fibre over a tuning range of 180 nm without the need for dispersion compensation. In a 4 m fibre, temporal and spectral pulse widths were maintained to within 10% of low power values up to the maximum fibre output power achievable with the laser system used of 278 mW at 700 nm, 808 mW at 800 nm and 420 mW at 860 nm. When coupled to a multiphoton microscope, it enabled imaging of ex vivo tissue using excitation wavelengths from 740 nm to 860 nm without any need for adjustments to the set-up.

EasySTORM: a Robust, Lower-cost Approach to Localisation and TIRF Microscopy

Journal of Biophotonics. Sep, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27592533

TIRF and STORM microscopy are super-resolving fluorescence imaging modalities for which current implementations on standard microscopes can present significant complexity and cost. We present a straightforward and low-cost approach to implement STORM and TIRF taking advantage of multimode optical fibres and multimode diode lasers to provide the required excitation light. Combined with open source software and relatively simple protocols to prepare samples for STORM, including the use of Vectashield for non-TIRF imaging, this approach enables TIRF and STORM imaging of cells labelled with appropriate dyes or expressing suitable fluorescent proteins to become widely accessible at low cost.

Adaptive Multiphoton Endomicroscopy Through a Dynamically Deformed Multicore Optical Fiber Using Proximal Detection

Optics Express. Sep, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27661887

This paper demonstrates multiphoton excited fluorescence imaging through a polarisation maintaining multicore fiber (PM-MCF) while the fiber is dynamically deformed using all-proximal detection. Single-shot proximal measurement of the relative optical path lengths of all the cores of the PM-MCF in double pass is achieved using a Mach-Zehnder interferometer read out by a scientific CMOS camera operating at 416 Hz. A non-linear least squares fitting procedure is then employed to determine the deformation-induced lateral shift of the excitation spot at the distal tip of the PM-MCF. An experimental validation of this approach is presented that compares the proximally measured deformation-induced lateral shift in focal spot position to an independent distally measured ground truth. The proximal measurement of deformation-induced shift in focal spot position is applied to correct for deformation-induced shifts in focal spot position during raster-scanning multiphoton excited fluorescence imaging.

Optically Assembled Droplet Interface Bilayer (OptiDIB) Networks from Cell-sized Microdroplets

Soft Matter. Sep, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27722718

We report a new platform technology to systematically assemble droplet interface bilayer (DIB) networks in user-defined 3D architectures from cell-sized droplets using optical tweezers. Our OptiDIB platform is the first demonstration of optical trapping to precisely construct 3D DIB networks, paving the way for the development of a new generation of modular bio-systems.

Plasmonic Nanoprobes for Stimulated Emission Depletion Nanoscopy

ACS Nano. Nov, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27794591

Plasmonic nanoparticles influence the absorption and emission processes of nearby emitters due to local enhancements of the illuminating radiation and the photonic density of states. Here, we use the plasmon resonance of metal nanoparticles in order to enhance the stimulated depletion of excited molecules for super-resolved nanoscopy. We demonstrate stimulated emission depletion (STED) nanoscopy with gold nanorods with a long axis of only 26 nm and a width of 8 nm. These particles provide an enhancement of up to 50% of the resolution compared to fluorescent-only probes without plasmonic components irradiated with the same depletion power. The nanoparticle-assisted STED probes reported here represent a ∼2 × 10(3) reduction in probe volume compared to previously used nanoparticles. Finally, we demonstrate their application toward plasmon-assisted STED cellular imaging at low-depletion powers, and we also discuss their current limitations.

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