Laser-Based Measurements in Cell Biology

Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
Methods in cell biology (Impact Factor: 1.42). 02/2007; 82:81-109. DOI: 10.1016/S0091-679X(06)82003-0
Source: PubMed


In this chapter, we review the imaging techniques and methods of molecular interrogation made possible by integrating laser light sources with microscopy. We discuss the advantages of exciting fluorescence by laser illumination and review commonly used laser-based imaging techniques such as confocal, multiphoton, and total internal reflection microcopy. We also discuss emerging imaging modalities based on intrinsic properties of biological macromolecules such as second harmonic generation imaging and coherent anti-Raman resonance spectroscopy. Super resolution techniques are presented that exceed the theoretical diffraction-limited resolution of a microscope objective. This chapter also focuses on laser-based techniques that can report biophysical parameters of fluorescently labeled molecules within living cells. Photobleaching techniques, fluorescence lifetime imaging, and fluorescence correlation methods can measure kinetic rates, molecular diffusion, protein-protein interactions, and concentration of a fluorophore-bound molecule. This chapter provides an introduction to the field of laser-based microscopy enabling readers to determine how best to match their research questions to the current suite of techniques.

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    • "The phosphorylation of 53BP1 at T1609 and S1618 correlates with the loss of 53BP1 foci, and this can be due to defective recruitment of 53BP1 to DSB sites or impaired retention of 53BP1 at DSB sites. To address this issue and rigorously quantify the kinetics of 53BP1 recruitment to DSBs we utilized a multiphoton laser (MPL) system that induces DSBs in defined subfemtoliter volumes of the nucleus (Botvinick and Shah, 2007; Hartlerode et al., 2012). Full-length 53BP1 fused with GFP was expressed in U2OS cells, and kinetics were assessed by live-cell imaging. "
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    ABSTRACT: Excluding 53BP1 from chromatin is required to attenuate the DNA damage response during mitosis, yet the functional relevance and regulation of this exclusion are unclear. Here we show that 53BP1 is phosphorylated during mitosis on two residues, T1609 and S1618, located in its well-conserved ubiquitination-dependent recruitment (UDR) motif. Phosphorylating these sites blocks the interaction of the UDR motif with mononuclesomes containing ubiquitinated histone H2A and impedes binding of 53BP1 to mitotic chromatin. Ectopic recruitment of 53BP1-T1609A/S1618A to mitotic DNA lesions was associated with significant mitotic defects that could be reversed by inhibiting nonhomologous end-joining. We also reveal that protein phosphatase complex PP4C/R3β dephosphorylates T1609 and S1618 to allow the recruitment of 53BP1 to chromatin in G1 phase. Our results identify key sites of 53BP1 phosphorylation during mitosis, identify the counteracting phosphatase complex that restores the potential for DDR during interphase, and establish the physiological importance of this regulation.
    Molecular cell 04/2014; 54(3). DOI:10.1016/j.molcel.2014.03.020 · 14.02 Impact Factor
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    • "To quantify 53BP1 DSB response kinetics more directly, we adapted a multi-photon laser (MPL) system [36], [37], [38], [39] for targeting DSBs to defined, subfemtoliter volumes of the nucleus and combined this with real-time imaging of the 53BP1 response. As a marker of 53BP1, we fused mCherry to the minimal 53BP1 localization domain, F53BP1, and expressed this stably at low levels in wild type MEFs following retroviral transduction and subsequent puromycin selection. "
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    ABSTRACT: Recruitment of 53BP1 to chromatin flanking double strand breaks (DSBs) requires γH2AX/MDC1/RNF8-dependent ubiquitination of chromatin and interaction of 53BP1 with histone H4 methylated on lysine 20 (H4K20me). Several histone methyltransferases have been implicated in 53BP1 recruitment, but their quantitative contributions to the 53BP1 response are unclear. We have developed a multi-photon laser (MPL) system to target DSBs to subfemtoliter nuclear volumes and used this to mathematically model DSB response kinetics of MDC1 and of 53BP1. In contrast to MDC1, which revealed first order kinetics, the 53BP1 MPL-DSB response is best fitted by a Gompertz growth function. The 53BP1 MPL response shows the expected dependency on MDC1 and RNF8. We determined the impact of altered H4K20 methylation on 53BP1 MPL response kinetics in mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) lacking key H4K20 histone methyltransferases. This revealed no major requirement for the known H4K20 dimethylases Suv4-20h1 and Suv4-20h2 in 53BP1 recruitment or DSB repair function, but a key role for the H4K20 monomethylase, PR-SET7. The histone methyltransferase MMSET/WHSC1 has recently been implicated in 53BP1 DSB recruitment. We found that WHSC1 homozygous mutant MEFs reveal an alteration in balance of H4K20 methylation patterns; however, 53BP1 DSB responses in these cells appear normal.
    PLoS ONE 11/2012; 7(11):e49211. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0049211 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    • "We next used Fluorescence Correlation Spectroscopy (FCS)(Botvinick and Shah, 2007) to further investigate the different states of pom1p. We assayed pom1-GFP behaviors at different cellular sites and orientations in wildtype and tea mutants (see Supplementary Information; Figures 4 and S4). "
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    ABSTRACT: Chemical gradients can generate pattern formation in biological systems. In the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe, a cortical gradient of pom1p (a DYRK-type protein kinase) functions to position sites of cytokinesis and cell polarity and to control cell length. Here, using quantitative imaging, fluorescence correlation spectroscopy, and mathematical modeling, we study how its gradient distribution is formed. Pom1p gradients exhibit large cell-to-cell variability, as well as dynamic fluctuations in each individual gradient. Our data lead to a two-state model for gradient formation in which pom1p molecules associate with the plasma membrane at cell tips and then diffuse on the membrane while aggregating into and fragmenting from clusters, before disassociating from the membrane. In contrast to a classical one-component gradient, this two-state gradient buffers against cell-to-cell variations in protein concentration. This buffering mechanism, together with time averaging to reduce intrinsic noise, allows the pom1p gradient to specify positional information in a robust manner.
    Developmental Cell 02/2012; 22(3):558-72. DOI:10.1016/j.devcel.2012.01.001 · 9.71 Impact Factor
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