abberior dyes & labels
Optimized two-color single-molecule tracking of fast-diffusing membrane receptors
Chiara Schirripa Spagnolo, Aldo Moscardini, Rosy Amodeo, Fabio Beltram, Stefano Luin
Single Molecule Tracking, Membrane Receptors
Single particle tracking (SPT) combined with total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy is an outstanding approach to decipher crucial molecular mechanisms on the cell membrane at the nanometric scale. In multicolor configurations it can even be the ideal tool to investigate interactions, but this is hindered by a number of experimental challenges. We systematically and quantitatively analyze the impact of all the necessary sub-elements of any SPT-TIRF setup on signal-to-noise ratio, especially in dynamic studies using minimally-invasive dyes for biomolecule labeling. We show that the dominant limiting factor is the autofluorescence originating from the commonly-used optical glass. We identify and test a different material and show a significant improvement of signal-to-noise ratio in a multichannel TIRF configuration employing the new glass covers. We also address the problem of photobleaching of fluorescent probes by presenting effective approaches suited to a multicolor implementation that requires simultaneous stabilization of multiple dyes. We apply the developed protocol to the analysis of p75 receptors labeled by two fluorophores on the membrane of living cells. Our strategy yields reliable, simultaneous two-color SPT, even for fast-diffusing receptors, enabling this study under conditions not accessible with standard experimental configurations. We argue that the present protocol can pave the way for multicolor super-resolved localization and tracking of single molecules by TIRF microscopy, much expanding the potential of SPT.