Veronika Mueller

Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen, Lower Saxony, Germany

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Publications (16)106.22 Total impact

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    Full-text · Dataset · Aug 2015
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    ABSTRACT: Heterogeneous diffusion dynamics of molecules play an important role in many cellular signaling events, such as of lipids in plasma membrane bioactivity. However, these dynamics can often only be visualized by single-molecule and super-resolution optical microscopy techniques. Using fluorescence lifetime correlation spectroscopy (FLCS, an extension of fluorescence correlation spectroscopy, FCS) on a super-resolution stimulated emission depletion (STED) microscope, we here extend previous observations of nanoscale lipid dynamics in the plasma membrane of living mammalian cells. STED-FLCS allows an improved determination of spatio-temporal heterogeneity in molecular diffusion and interaction dynamics via a novel gated detection scheme, as demonstrated by a comparison between STED-FLCS and previous conventional STED-FCS recordings on fluorescent phosphoglycerolipid and sphingolipid analogs in the plasma membrane of live mammalian cells. The STED-FLCS data indicate that bio-physical and -chemical parameters such as the affinity for molecular complexes strongly change over space and time within a few seconds. Drug treatment for cholesterol depletion or actin cytoskeleton depolymerization not only results in the already previously observed decreased affinity for molecular interactions, but also in a slight reduction of the spatio-temporal heterogeneity. STED-FLCS specifically demonstrates a significant improvement over previous gated STED-FCS experiments and with its improved spatial and temporal resolution is a novel tool for investigating how heterogeneities of the cellular plasma membrane may regulate biofunctionality.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2015 · Nano Letters
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    ABSTRACT: Important discoveries in the last decades have changed our view of the plasma membrane organisation. Specifically, the cortical cytoskeleton has emerged as a key modulator of the lateral diffusion of membrane proteins. Cytoskeleton-dependent compartmentalised lipid diffusion has been proposed, but this concept remains controversial because this phenomenon has thus far only been observed with artefact-prone probes in combination with a single technique: single particle tracking. In this paper, we report the first direct observation of compartmentalised phospholipid diffusion in the plasma membrane of living cells using a minimally invasive, fluorescent dye labelled lipid analogue. These observations were made using optical STED nanoscopy in combination with fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (STED-FCS), a technique which allows the study of membrane dynamics on a sub-millisecond time-scale and with a spatial resolution of down to 40 nm. Specifically, we find that compartmentalised phospholipid diff
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2015 · Scientific Reports
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    ABSTRACT: The interaction of lipids and proteins plays an important role in plasma membrane bioactivity, and much can be learned from their diffusion characteristics. Here we present the combination of super-resolution STED microscopy with scanning fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (scanning STED-FCS, sSTED-FCS) to characterize the spatial and temporal heterogeneity of lipid interactions. sSTED-FCS reveals transient molecular interaction hotspots for a fluorescent sphingolipid analogue. The interaction sites are smaller than 80 nm in diameter and lipids are transiently trapped for several milliseconds in these areas. In comparison, newly developed fluorescent phospholipid and cholesterol analogues with improved phase-partitioning properties show more homogenous diffusion, independent of the preference for liquid-ordered or disordered membrane environments. Our results do not support the presence of nanodomains based on lipid-phase separation in the basal membrane of our cultured nonstimulated cells, and show that alternative interactions are responsible for the strong local trapping of our sphingolipid analogue.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2014 · Nature Communications
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    ABSTRACT: We report on a fiber laser-based stimulated emission-depletion microscope providing down to ∼20 nm resolution in raw data images as well as 15-19 nm diameter probing areas in fluorescence correlation spectroscopy. Stimulated emission depletion pulses of nanosecond duration and 775 nm wavelength are used to silence two fluorophores simultaneously, ensuring offset-free colocalization analysis. The versatility of this superresolution method is exemplified by revealing the octameric arrangement of Xenopus nuclear pore complexes and by quantifying the diffusion of labeled lipid molecules in artificial and living cell membranes.
    Preview · Article · Jul 2013 · Biophysical Journal
  • Alf Honigmann · Veronika Mueller · Stefan W Hell · Christian Eggeling
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    ABSTRACT: We have developed a bright, photostable, and far-red emitting fluorescent phosphoglycerolipid analogue to probe diffusion characteristics of lipids in membranes. The lipid analogue consists of a saturated (C18) phosphoethanolamine and a hydrophilic far-red emitting fluorescent dye (KK114) that is tethered to the head group by a long polyethylenglycol linker. In contrast to reported far-red emitting fluorescent lipid analogues, this one partitions predominantly into liquid ordered domains of phase-separated ternary bilayers. We performed fluorescence correlation spectroscopy with a super-resolution STED microscope (STED-FCS) to measure the lateral diffusion of the new lipid analogue in the liquid ordered (Lo) and disordered (Ld) phase. On a mica support, we observed micrometer large phases and found that the lipid analogue diffuses freely on all tested spatial scales (40-250 nm) in both the Ld and Lo phase with diffusion coefficients of 1.8 microm2 s(-1) and 0.7 microm2 s(-1) respectively. This indicates that the tight molecular packing of the Lo phase mainly slows down the diffusion rather than causing anomalous sub-diffusion. The same ternary mixture deposited on acid-cleaned glass forms Lo nanodomains of < 40 nm to 300 nm in diameter as only revealed by STED microscopy, which demonstrates the severe influence of interactions with the substrate on the sizes of domains in membranes. When averaging over different positions, STEd-FCS measurements on such glass supported membranes displayed anomalous sub-diffusion. This anomaly can be attributed to a transient partitioning of the lipid analogue into the nano-domains, where diffusion is slowed down. Our results suggest that STED-FCS in combination with a Lo-partitioning fluorescent lipid analogue can directly probe the presence of Lo nano-domains, which in the future should allow the study of potential lipid rafts in live-cell membranes.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2013 · Faraday Discussions
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    ABSTRACT: Synaptic-vesicle exocytosis is mediated by the vesicular Ca(2+) sensor synaptotagmin-1. Synaptotagmin-1 interacts with the SNARE protein syntaxin-1A and acidic phospholipids such as phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate (PIP2). However, it is unclear how these interactions contribute to triggering membrane fusion. Using PC12 cells from Rattus norvegicus and artificial supported bilayers, we show that synaptotagmin-1 interacts with the polybasic linker region of syntaxin-1A independent of Ca(2+) through PIP2. This interaction allows both Ca(2+)-binding sites of synaptotagmin-1 to bind to phosphatidylserine in the vesicle membrane upon Ca(2+) triggering. We determined the crystal structure of the C2B domain of synaptotagmin-1 bound to phosphoserine, allowing development of a high-resolution model of synaptotagmin bridging two different membranes. Our results suggest that PIP2 clusters organized by syntaxin-1 act as molecular beacons for vesicle docking, with the subsequent Ca(2+) influx bringing the vesicle membrane close enough for membrane fusion.
    Full-text · Article · May 2013 · Nature Structural & Molecular Biology
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    ABSTRACT: The ideal fluorescent probe for bioimaging is bright, absorbs at long wavelengths and can be implemented flexibly in living cells and in vivo. However, the design of synthetic fluorophores that combine all of these properties has proved to be extremely difficult. Here, we introduce a biocompatible near-infrared silicon-rhodamine probe that can be coupled specifically to proteins using different labelling techniques. Importantly, its high permeability and fluorogenic character permit the imaging of proteins in living cells and tissues, and its brightness and photostability make it ideally suited for live-cell super-resolution microscopy. The excellent spectroscopic properties of the probe combined with its ease of use in live-cell applications make it a powerful new tool for bioimaging.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2013 · Nature Chemistry
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    ABSTRACT: Details of molecular membrane dynamics in living cells such as lipid-protein interactions or the incorporation of molecules into lipid "rafts" are often hidden to the observer because of the limited spatial resolution of conventional far-field optical microscopy. Fortunately, the superior spatial resolution of far-field stimulated-emission-depletion (STED) nanoscopy allows gaining new insights. Applying fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS) in focal spots continuously tuned down to 30nm in diameter distinguishes free from anomalous molecular diffusion due to transient binding, as for the diffusion of fluorescent phosphoglycero- and sphingolipid analogs in the plasma membrane of living cells. STED-FCS data recorded at different environmental conditions and on different lipid analogs reveal molecular details of the observed nanoscale trapping. Dependencies on the molecular structure of the lipids point to the distinct connectivity of the various lipids to initiate or assist cellular signaling events, but also outline strong differences to the characteristics of liquid-ordered and disordered phase separation in model membranes. STED-FCS is a highly sensitive and exceptional tool to study the membrane organization by introducing a new class of nanoscale biomolecular studies.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2013 · Methods in enzymology
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    ABSTRACT: Several simplified membrane models featuring coexisting liquid disordered (Ld) and ordered (Lo) lipid phases have been developed to mimic the heterogeneous organization of cellular membranes, and thus, aid our understanding of the nature and functional role of ordered lipid-protein nanodomains, termed "rafts". In spite of their greatly reduced complexity, quantitative characterization of local lipid environments using model membranes is not trivial, and the parallels that can be drawn to cellular membranes are not always evident. Similarly, various fluorescently labeled lipid analogs have been used to study membrane organization and function in vitro, although the biological activity of these probes in relation to their native counterparts often remains uncharacterized. This is particularly true for raft-preferring lipids ("raft lipids", e.g. sphingolipids and sterols), whose domain preference is a strict function of their molecular architecture, and is thus susceptible to disruption by fluorescence labeling. Here, we analyze the phase partitioning of a multitude of fluorescent raft lipid analogs in synthetic Giant Unilamellar Vesicles (GUVs) and cell-derived Giant Plasma Membrane Vesicles (GPMVs). We observe complex partitioning behavior dependent on label size, polarity, charge and position, lipid headgroup, and membrane composition. Several of the raft lipid analogs partitioned into the ordered phase in GPMVs, in contrast to fully synthetic GUVs, in which most raft lipid analogs mis-partitioned to the disordered phase. This behavior correlates with the greatly enhanced order difference between coexisting phases in the synthetic system. In addition, not only partitioning, but also ligand binding of the lipids is perturbed upon labeling: while cholera toxin B binds unlabeled GM1 in the Lo phase, it binds fluorescently labeled GM1 exclusively in the Ld phase. Fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS) by stimulated emission depletion (STED) nanoscopy on intact cellular plasma membranes consistently reveals a constant level of confined diffusion for raft lipid analogs that vary greatly in their partitioning behavior, suggesting different physicochemical bases for these phenomena.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2012 · Biochimica et Biophysica Acta
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    Preview · Article · Jan 2012 · Biophysical Journal
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    ABSTRACT: Details about molecular membrane dynamics in living cells, such as lipid-protein interactions, are often hidden from the observer because of the limited spatial resolution of conventional far-field optical microscopy. The superior spatial resolution of stimulated emission depletion (STED) nanoscopy can provide new insights into this process. The application of fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS) in focal spots continuously tuned down to 30 nm in diameter distinguishes between free and anomalous molecular diffusion due to, for example, transient binding of lipids to other membrane constituents, such as lipids and proteins. We compared STED-FCS data recorded on various fluorescent lipid analogs in the plasma membrane of living mammalian cells. Our results demonstrate details about the observed transient formation of molecular complexes. The diffusion characteristics of phosphoglycerolipids without hydroxyl-containing headgroups revealed weak interactions. The strongest interactions were observed with sphingolipid analogs, which showed cholesterol-assisted and cytoskeleton-dependent binding. The hydroxyl-containing headgroup of gangliosides, galactosylceramide, and phosphoinositol assisted binding, but in a much less cholesterol- and cytoskeleton-dependent manner. The observed anomalous diffusion indicates lipid-specific transient hydrogen bonding to other membrane molecules, such as proteins, and points to a distinct connectivity of the various lipids to other membrane constituents. This strong interaction is different from that responsible for forming cholesterol-dependent, liquid-ordered domains in model membranes.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2011 · Biophysical Journal
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    Full-text · Article · Feb 2011 · Biophysical Journal
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    Full-text · Article · Jan 2010 · Biophysical Journal
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    ABSTRACT: Fluorescent markers emitting in the red are extremely valuable in biological microscopy since they minimize cellular autofluorescence and increase flexibility in multicolor experiments. Novel rhodamine dyes excitable with 630 nm laser light and emitting at around 660 nm have been developed. The new rhodamines are very photostable and have high fluorescence quantum yields of up to 80 %, long excited state lifetimes of 3.4 ns, and comparatively low intersystem-crossing rates. They perform very well both in conventional and in subdiffraction-resolution microscopy such as STED (stimulated emission depletion) and GSDIM (ground-state depletion with individual molecular return), as well as in single-molecule-based experiments such as fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS). Syntheses of lipophilic and hydrophilic derivatives starting from the same chromophore-containing scaffold are described. Introduction of two sulfo groups provides high solubility in water and a considerable rise in fluorescence quantum yield. The attachment of amino or thiol reactive groups allows the dyes to be used as fluorescent markers in biology. Dyes deuterated at certain positions have narrow and symmetrical molecular mass distribution patterns, and are proposed as new tags in MS or LC-MS for identification and quantification of various substance classes (e.g., amines and thiols) in complex mixtures. High-resolution GSDIM images and live-cell STED-FCS experiments on labeled microtubules and lipids prove the versatility of the novel probes for modern fluorescence microscopy and nanoscopy.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2009 · Chemistry - A European Journal

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