Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Brownian nanoimaging of interface dynamics and ligand–receptor binding at cell surfaces in 3-D

Igor R. Kuznetsov, Evan A. Evans
We describe a method for nanoimaging interfacial dynamics and ligand–receptor binding at surfaces of live cells in 3-D. The imaging probe is a 1-μm diameter glass bead confined by a soft laser trap to create a “cloud” of fluctuating states. Using a facile on-line method of video image analysis, the probe displacements are reported at ∼10 ms intervals with bare precisions (±SD) of 4–6 nm along the optical axis (elevation) and 2 nm in the transverse directions. We demonstrate how the Brownian distributions are analyzed to characterize the free energy potential of each small probe in 3-D taking into account the blur effect of its motions during CCD image capture. Then, using the approach to image interactions of a labeled probe with lamellae of leukocytic cells spreading on cover-glass substrates, we show that deformations of the soft distribution in probe elevations provide both a sensitive long-range sensor for defining the steric topography of a cell lamella and a fast telemetry for reporting rare events of probe binding with its surface receptors. Invoking established principles of Brownian physics and statistical thermodynamics, we describe an off-line method of super resolution that improves precision of probe separations from a non-reactive steric boundary to ∼1 nm.
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