[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In vitro and in vivo imaging of protein tyrosine kinase activity requires minimally invasive, molecularly precise optical probes to provide spatiotemporal mechanistic information of dimerization and complex formation with downstream effectors. We present here a construct with genetically encoded, site-specifically incorporated, bioorthogonal reporter that can be selectively labelled with exogenous fluorogenic probes to monitor the structure and function of fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR). GyrB.FGFR1KD.TC contains a coumermycin-induced artificial dimerizer (GyrB), FGFR1 kinase domain (KD) and a tetracysteine (TC) motif that enables fluorescent labelling with biarsenical dyes FlAsH-EDT2 and ReAsH-EDT2. We generated bimolecular system for time-resolved FRET (TR-FRET) studies, which pairs FlAsH-tagged GyrB.FGFR1KD.TC and N-terminal Src homology 2 (nSH2) domain of phospholipase Cγ (PLCγ), a downstream effector of FGFR1, fused to mTurquoise fluorescent protein (mTFP). We demonstrated phosphorylation-dependent TR-FRET readout of complex formation between mTFP.nSH2 and GyrB.FGFR1KD.TC. By further application of TR-FRET, we also demonstrated formation of the GyrB.FGFR1KD.TC homodimer by coumermycin-induced dimerization. Herein, we present a spectroscopic FRET approach to facilitate and propagate studies that would provide structural and functional insights for FGFR and other tyrosine kinases.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We are developing an autofluorescence (AFL) lifetime-based technique to characterise the signatures associated with histological, metabolic and functional changes in myocardial disease. AFL spectroscopy exploits the properties of a number of endogenous molecules and offers the potential to avoid exogenous label use that could potentially alter the physiological environment. AFL measurements of molecules such as NADH and flavins may report energetic state changes, whilst signatures from matrix such as collagen inform of structural alterations. We investigated the application of a fibre-optic based single-point instrument combining time-resolved spectrofluorometry and diffuse reflectance spectroscopy to a doxorubicin cardiomyopathy heart failure model (DOX-HF) in vivo.
Sprague-Dawley male rats received 1.25 mg/kg doxorubicin or vehicle (0.9% NaCl) via tail vein injection weekly for 8 weeks. AFL signals were measured in vivo in week 11, once heart failure phenotype was well established. DOX-HF(n = 8) LVEF 49.6% vs. 80.4% in controls (n = 4)(**p = 0.006). At 11 weeks, significant differences in AFL signals between DOX-HF(n = 6) and control (n = 3) in LV, RV and LV posterior wall were observed (*p < 0.05). A significantly increased proportion of collagen AFL was seen across all areas in DOX-HF (n = 6) vs. control (n = 3)(*p < 0.05). AFL-predicted collagen content was previously highly correlated with quantitative histology (r = 0.984,*p < 0.05).
Our instrument has sensitivity to characterise in vivo changes in DOX-HF model without use of exogenous compounds. Incorporation into coronary catheters or pacing leads could offer additional diagnostic information and monitoring. Identification of earlier changes could permit development of a screening strategy to identify cancer patients developing cardiomyopathy to permit judicious adjustment of chemotherapy.
No preview · Article · Jun 2015 · Heart (British Cardiac Society)
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Fluorescence lifetime measurements can provide quantitative assays of the local fluorophore environment and can be applied to read out biomolecular interactions via Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET). Fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) can be automated for high content analysis (HCA) to map protein–protein interactions with applications in drug discovery, systems biology and basic research. The automated acquisition of FLIM data over 100's of fields of view provides statistical power to overcome noise in instrumentation and biological systems and thus exploit relatively small changes in mean lifetime to provide useful readouts that would not be practically achievable in manual microscopy experiments. We present here an automated HCA system with the ability to perform rapid unsupervised optically sectioned FLIM of fixed and live biological samples and illustrate its potential through exemplar applications of different FRET readouts.
Full-text · Article · May 2015 · Analytical methods
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent developments in sub-diffraction ultrasound (US) imaging using clinical US systems has shown the potential to resolve structures on the micrometer scale using microbubbles (MBs). These rely on user-defined thresholds for MB identification making their clinical application challenging. Here, an automated post-processing algorithm based on k-means clustering has been developed to identify noise, individual and multiple MB in vivo without user interaction. This method has the potential to non-invasively image in real-time pathological or therapeutic changes in the micro-vasculature at centimeter depths in a clinical setting.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Uracil DNA glycosylase (UNG) plays a key role in DNA maintenance via base excision repair (BER). Its role is to bind to DNA, locate unwanted uracil and remove it via 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 both binding and base flipping kinetics within the continuous flow microfluidic mixer, with results showing good agreement with computational fluid dynamics simulations.
No preview · Article · Sep 2014 · Analytical Chemistry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The structure of microvasculature cannot be resolved using standard clinical ultrasound (US) imaging frequencies due to the fundamental diffraction limit of US waves. In this work, we use a standard clinical US system to perform in vivo sub-diffraction imaging on a CD1, female mouse aged 8 weeks by localizing isolated US signals from bubbles flowing within the ear microvasculature, and compare our results to optical microscopy. Furthermore, we develop a new technique to map blood velocity at super-resolution by tracking individual bubbles through the vasculature. Resolution is improved from a measured lateral and axial resolution of 112 μm and 94 μm respectively in original US data, to super-resolved images of microvasculature where vessel features as fine as 19 μm are clearly visualized. Velocity maps clearly distinguish opposing flow direction and separated speed distributions in adjacent vessels, thereby enabling further differentiation between vessels otherwise not spatially separated in the image. This technique overcomes the diffraction limit to provide a non-invasive means of imaging the microvasculature at super-resolution, to depths of many centimeters. In the future, this method could noninvasively image pathological or therapeutic changes in the microvasculature at centimeter depths in vivo.
No preview · Article · Sep 2014 · IEEE Transactions on Medical Imaging
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We image core-shell nanoparticles, consisting of a dye-doped silica core covered with a layer of gold, with a STED-FLIM microscope. Due to the field enhancement provided by the localised 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 four. 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 sub-wavelength imaging.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Degradation of articular cartilage extracellular matrix (ECM) by proteolytic enzyme is the hallmark of arthritis that leads to joint destruction. Detection of early biochemical changes in cartilage before irreversible structural damages become apparent is highly desirable. Here we report that the autofluorescence decay profile of cartilage is significantly affected by proteolytic degradation of cartilage ECM and can be characterised by measurements of the autofluorescence lifetime (AFL). A multidimensional fluorometer utilizing ultraviolet excitation at 355 nm or 375 nm coupled to a fibreoptic probe was developed for single point time-resolved AFL measurements of porcine articular cartilage explants treated with different proteinases. Degradation of cartilage matrix components by treating with bacterial collagenase, matrix metalloproteinase 1, or trypsin resulted in significant reduction of AFL of the cartilage in both a dose and time dependent manner. Differences in cartilage AFL were also confirmed by fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM). Our data suggest that AFL of cartilage tissue is a potential non-invasive readout to monitor cartilage matrix integrity that may be utilized for diagnosis of arthritis as well as monitoring the efficacy of anti-arthritic therapeutic agents.
No preview · Article · Feb 2014 · Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ultrasound (US) is a widely used clinical imaging modality that offers penetration depths in tissue of >10 cm. However, the spatial resolution in US imaging is fundamentally limited by diffraction to approximately half the wavelength of the sound wave employed. The spatial resolution of optical microscopy is limited by the same fundamental physics, but in recent years super-resolution imaging techniques have been developed that overcome the diffraction limit through the localization of many spatially separated photo-switchable or photo-activatable fluorophores. In this paper, we apply a related approach to demonstrate super-resolution imaging with US. We imaged dilute suspensions of microbubble contrast agents flowing through narrow tube-based phantoms. By spatially localizing multiple spatially isolated microbubbles, we constructed super-resolved microbubble location density maps that clearly resolve features 5.1-2.2 times smaller than the US system point spread function full width half maximum in the lateral and axial directions respectively. Our initial characterization experiment using a fixed 100 µm diameter brass wire and a US frequency of 2 MHz suggests that for an ideal stationary point scatterer the ultimate resolution of the unmodified clinical US system used could be in the range of 2-4 µm.
No preview · Article · Sep 2013 · Physics in Medicine and Biology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We describe a multicore endoscope fibre with minimised group index variation between cores obtained at a V parameter of 3. A spun fibre design enables the effects of bending to be reduced.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Multiphoton laser tomography (MPT) combined with fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) is a non-invasive imaging technique, based on the study of fluorescence decay times of naturally occurring fluorescent molecules, enabling a non-invasive investigation of the skin with subcellular resolution. The aim of this retrospective observational ex vivo study, was to characterize melanoma both from a morphologic and a quantitative point of view, attaining an improvement in the diagnostic accuracy with respect to dermoscopy. In the training phase, thirty parameters, comprising both cytological descriptors and architectural aspects, were identified. The training set included 6 melanomas with a mean Breslow thickness±S.D. of 0.89±0.48 mm. In the test phase, these parameters were blindly evaluated on a test data set consisting of 25 melanomas, 50 nevi and 50 basal cell carcinomas. Melanomas in the test phase comprised 8 in situ lesions and had a mean thickness±S.D. of 0.77±1.2 mm. Moreover, quantitative FLIM data were calculated for special areas of interest. Melanoma was characterized by the presence of atypical short lifetime cells and architectural disorder, in contrast to nevi presenting typical cells and a regular histoarchitecture. Sensitivity and specificity values for melanoma diagnosis were 100% and 98%, respectively, whereas dermoscopy achieved the same sensitivity, but a lower specificity (82%). Mean fluorescence lifetime values of melanocytic cells did not vary between melanomas and nevi, but significantly differed from those referring to basal cell carcinoma enabling a differential diagnosis based on quantitative data. Data from prospective preoperative trials are needed to confirm if MPT/FLIM could increase diagnostic specificity and thus reduce unnecessary surgical excisions.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We describe a multicore fiber for nonlinear endoscopy where an ultrashort pulse is divided up and delivered through multiple cores to reduce the peak power. The variation in group index between cores of the fiber is minimized to allow simultaneously launched sub-pulses to arrive at the distal end of the fiber synchronously. Minimization of group index variation between cores is achieved at a V parameter of 3 owing to a turning point in the relationship between the group index and V parameter. For synchronized arrival times, single-mode propagation is important. By tapering a short length of the fiber at the launch end, the V value is locally brought below 2.405 allowing a pure fundamental mode to be launched into each core.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We report the development and application of instrumentation to measure and image tissue autofluorescence lifetime for the study and diagnosis of disease including cancer and osteoarthritis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We demonstrate the application of Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging (FLIM) to read out Förster resonant energy transfer (FRET) based biosensors for studying the spatio-temporal dynamics of signalling pathways in cells undergoing chemotaxis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Multiphoton Laser Tomography (MPT) has developed as a non-invasive tool that allows real-time observation of the skin with subcellular resolution. MPT is readily combined with time resolved detectors to achieve fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM). The aim of our study was to identify morphologic MPT/FLIM descriptors of melanocytic nevi, referring to cellular and architectural features. METHODS: In the preliminary study, MPT/FLIM images referring to 16 ex vivo nevi were simultaneously evaluated by 3 observers for the identification of morphologic descriptors characteristic of melanocytic nevi. Proposed descriptors were discussed and the parameters referring to epidermal keratinocytes, epidermal melanocytes, dermo-epidermal junction, papillary dermis and overall architecture were selected. In the main study, the presence/absence of the specified criteria were blindly evaluated on a test set, comprising 102 ex vivo samples (51 melanocytic nevi, 51 miscellaneous skin lesions) by 2 observers. RESULTS: Twelve descriptors were identified: "short-lifetime cells in the stratum corneum", "melanin-containing keratinocytes", "dendritic cells", "small short-lifetime cells" in the upper and lower layers", "edged papillae", "non-edged papillae", "junctional nests of short-lifetime cells", "dermal cell clusters", "short-lifetime cells in the papilla", "monomorphic and regular histoarchitecture", "architectural disarray". CONCLUSION: Identified descriptors for benign melanocytic lesions proved sensitive and specific, enabling the differentiation between melanocytic nevi and non-melanocytic lesions.
No preview · Article · Dec 2012 · Skin Research and Technology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cartilage is a vital organ to maintain joint function. Upon arthritis, proteolytic enzymes initiate degradation of cartilage extracellular matrix (ECM) resulting in eventual loss of joint function. However, there are only limited ways of non-invasively monitoring early chemical changes in cartilage matrix. Here we report that the autofluorescence decay profiles of cartilage tissue are significantly affected by proteolytic degradation of cartilage ECM and can be characterised by measurements of the autofluorescence lifetime (AFL). A compact multidimensional fluorometer coupled to a fibre-optic probe was developed for single point measurements of AFL and applied to cartilage that was treated with different proteinases. Upon treating cartilage with bacterial collagenase, trypsin or matrix metalloproteinase 1, a significant dose and time dependent decrease of AFL was observed. Our data suggest that AFL of cartilage tissue is a potential non-invasive readout to monitor cartilage matrix integrity that may contribute to future diagnosis of cartilage defects as well as monitoring the efficacy of anti-joint therapeutic agents.
No preview · Article · Dec 2012 · Matrix biology: journal of the International Society for Matrix Biology