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Biological Chemistry

Editor-in-Chief: Brüne, Bernhard

Editorial Board Member: Buchner, Johannes / Lei, Ming / Ludwig, Stephan / Sies, Helmut / Turk, Boris / Wittinghofer, Alfred

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Accessing Molecular Dynamics in Cells by Fluorescence Correlation Spectroscopy

Petra Dittrich / Flaminia Malvezzi-Campeggi / Michael Jahnz / Petra Schwille

Citation Information: Biological Chemistry. Volume 382, Issue 3, Pages 491–494, ISSN (Print) 1431-6730, DOI: 10.1515/BC.2001.061, June 2005

Publication History

Published Online:


Fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS) analyzes spontaneous fluctuations in the fluorescence emission of small molecular ensembles, thus providing information about a multitude of parameters, such as concentrations, molecular mobility and dynamics of fluorescently labeled molecules. Performed within diffractionlimited confocal volume elements, FCS provides an attractive alternative to photobleaching recovery methods for determining intracellular mobility parameters of very low quantities of fluorophores. Due to its high sensitivity sufficient for single molecule detection, the method is subject to certain artifact hazards that must be carefully controlled, such as photobleaching and intramolecular dynamics, which introduce fluorescence flickering. Furthermore, if molecular mobility is to be probed, nonspecific interactions of the labeling dye with cellular structures can introduce systematic errors. In cytosolic measurements, lipophilic dyes, such as certain rhodamines that bind to intracellular membranes, should be avoided. To study free diffusion, genetically encoded fluorescent labels such as green fluorescent protein (GFP) or DsRed are preferable since they are less likely to nonspecifically interact with cellular substructures.

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