- Effect of fixation procedures on the fluorescence lifetimes of Aequorea victoria derived fluorescent proteins
- Journal of Microscopy
- Volume | Issue number
- 256 | 3
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences (SILS)
Fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy can be used to study protein-protein interactions by Forster Resonance Energy Transfer or to perform lifetime-based multiplexing. Fixation of samples with cells producing fluorescent fusion proteins is commonly used for preservation of samples and for staining with membrane impermeable reagents such as antibodies. However, the effect of fixation methods and mounting media on fluorescence lifetime is poorly documented so far. Here, we demonstrate that fixation by formaldehyde or methanol itself does not affect the lifetime of fluorescent proteins produced in cells but that several widely used mounting media decrease the fluorescence lifetime by up to 20%. It is shown that fixed cells producing Aequorea victoria derived fluorescent proteins mounted in Tris buffer have fluorescence lifetimes indistinguishable from values measured in living cells. Tris buffer also allows accurate Forster Resonance Energy Transfer quantification in fixed cells, as shown with an mTurquoise2-SYFP2 fusion protein. Moreover, identical lifetime contrasts are measured in living and fixed cells mounted in Tris buffer after introducing a single plasmid expressing two lifetime variants of cyan fluorescent proteins, each targeted to different locations in the cell. Our findings will aid the preparation of fixed cells producing fluorescent proteins for reliable measurement of fluorescence lifetimes for Forster Resonance Energy Transfer determination, lifetime based multiplexing and for instrument calibration for standardization purposes.
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