Imaging with total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy for the cell biologist

Laboratory of Cellular Biophysics, The Rockefeller University, 1230 York Avenue, New York, NY 10065, USA.
Journal of Cell Science (Impact Factor: 5.33). 11/2010; 123(Pt 21):3621-8. DOI: 10.1242/jcs.056218
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy can be used in a wide range of cell biological applications, and is particularly well suited to analysis of the localization and dynamics of molecules and events near the plasma membrane. The TIRF excitation field decreases exponentially with distance from the cover slip on which cells are grown. This means that fluorophores close to the cover slip (e.g. within ~100 nm) are selectively illuminated, highlighting events that occur within this region. The advantages of using TIRF include the ability to obtain high-contrast images of fluorophores near the plasma membrane, very low background from the bulk of the cell, reduced cellular photodamage and rapid exposure times. In this Commentary, we discuss the applications of TIRF to the study of cell biology, the physical basis of TIRF, experimental setup and troubleshooting.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Total internal reflection fluorescence microscope has often been used to study the molecular mechanisms underlying vesicle exocytosis. However, the spatial occurrence of the fusion events within a single cell is not frequently explored due to the lack of sensitive and accurate computer-assisted programs to analyze large image data sets. Here, we have developed an image analysis platform for the nonbiased identification of different types of vesicle fusion events with high accuracy in different cell types. By performing spatiotemporal analysis of stimulus-evoked exocytosis in insulin-secreting INS-1 cells, we statistically prove that individual vesicle fusion events are clustered at hotspots. This spatial pattern disappears upon the disruption of either the actin or the microtubule network; this disruption also severely inhibits evoked exocytosis. By demonstrating that newcomer vesicles are delivered from the cell interior to the surface membrane for exocytosis, we highlight a previously unappreciated mechanism in which the cytoskeleton-dependent transportation of secretory vesicles organizes exocytosis hotspots in endocrine cells.
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Transient Receptor Potential (TRP) channels form a broadly expressed and functionally diverse family of cation channels involved in various (patho)physiological processes. Whereas the mechanisms that control opening of TRP channels have been extensively studied, little is known about the transport processes of TRP channels to and within the plasma membrane. Here we used Total Internal Reflection - Fluorescence Recovery after Photobleaching (TIR-FRAP) to selectively visualize and bleach the fluorescently labeled TRP channels TRPV2 and TRPM4 in close proximity of the glass-plasma membrane interface, allowing detailed analysis of their perimembrane dynamics. We show that recovery of TRPM4 occurs via 200-nm diameter transport vesicles, and demonstrate the full fusion of such vesicles with the plasma membrane. In contrast, TRPV2 recovery proceeded mainly via lateral diffusion from non-bleached areas of the plasma membrane. Analysis of the two-dimensional channel diffusion kinetics yielded 2D diffusion coefficients ranging between 0.1 and 0.3 μm(2)/s, suggesting that these TRP channels move relatively unrestricted within the plasma membrane. These data demonstrate distinct modes of TRP channel turnover at the plasma membrane and illustrate the usefulness of TIR-FRAP to monitor these processes with high resolution.
    Scientific Reports 11/2014; 4. DOI:10.1038/srep07111 · 5.08 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We present a novel imaging system combining total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy with measurement of steady-state acceptor fluorescence anisotropy in order to perform live cell Förster Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET) imaging at the plasma membrane. We compare directly the imaging performance of fluorescence anisotropy resolved TIRF with epifluorescence illumination. The use of high numerical aperture objective for TIRF required correction for induced depolarization factors. This arrangement enabled visualisation of conformational changes of a Raichu-Cdc42 FRET biosensor by measurement of intramolecular FRET between eGFP and mRFP1. Higher activity of the probe was found at the cell plasma membrane compared to intracellularly. Imaging fluorescence anisotropy in TIRF allowed clear differentiation of the Raichu-Cdc42 biosensor from negative control mutants. Finally, inhibition of Cdc42 was imaged dynamically in live cells, where we show temporal changes of the activity of the Raichu-Cdc42 biosensor.
    PLoS ONE 10/2014; 9(10):e110695. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0110695 · 3.53 Impact Factor