Mitochondrial dynamics and optical conformation changes in DsRed as studied by fourier imaging correlation spectroscopy
Senning, Eric Nicolas, 1978-
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Senning, Eric Nicolas, 1978-
Novel experiments that probe the dynamics of intracellular species, including the center-of-mass displacements and internal conformational transitions of biological macromolecules, have the potential to reveal the complex biochemical mechanisms operating within the cell. This work presents the implementation and development of Fourier imaging correlation spectroscopy (FICS), a phase-selective approach to fluorescence spectroscopy that measures the collective coordinate fluctuations of fluorescently labeled microscopic particles. In FICS experiments, a spatially modulated optical grating excites a fluorescently labeled sample. Phase-synchronous detection of the fluorescence, with respect to the phase of the exciting optical grating, can be used to monitor the fluctuations of partially averaged spatial coordinates. These data are then analyzed by two-point and four-point time correlation functions to provide a statistically meaningful understanding of the dynamics under observation. FICS represents a unique route to elevate signal levels, while acquiring detailed information about molecular coordinate trajectories. Mitochondria of mammalian cells are known to associate with cytoskeletal proteins, and their motions are affected by the stability of microtubules and microfilaments. Within the cell it is possible to fluorescently label the mitochondria and study its dynamic behavior with FICS. The dynamics of S. cerevisiae yeast mitochondria are characterized at four discrete length scales (ranging from 0.6 - 1.19 μm) and provide detailed information about the influence of specific cytoskeletal elements. Using the microtubule and microfilament destabilizing agents, Nocodazole and Latrunculin A, it is determined that microfilaments are required for normal yeast mitochondrial motion while microtubules have no effect. Experiments with specific actin mutants revealed that actin is responsible for enhanced mobility on length scales greater than 0.6 μm. The versatility of FICS expands when individual molecules are labeled with fluorescent chromophores. In recent experiments on the tetrameric fluorescent protein DsRed, polarization-modulated FICS (PM-FICS) is demonstrated to separate conformational dynamics from molecular translational dynamics. The optical switching pathways of DsRed, a tetrameric complex of fluorescent protein subunits, are examined. An analysis of PM-FICS coordinate trajectories, in terms of 2D spectra and joint probability distributions, provides detailed information about the transition pathways between distinct dipole-coupled DsRed conformations. This dissertation includes co-authored and previously published material.