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Journal Article

Flux measurement in single cells by fluorescence microphotolysis


Peters,  Reiner
Department of Cell Physiology, Max Planck Institute of Biophysics, Max Planck Society;

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Peters, R. (1984). Flux measurement in single cells by fluorescence microphotolysis. European Biophysics Journal, 11(1), 43-50. doi:10.1007/BF00253857.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0008-05A9-4
Fluorescence microphotolysis--widely employed for diffusion studies--can be used to measure transfer (flux) of fluorescent solutes through membranes in single cells and organelles. This article analyses the methodological basis of flux measurements, provides experimental tests, and discusses potential applications. The principle of the method is to equilibrate cells, organelles or vesicles with a fluorescent solute, to deplete the interior of individual cells etc. of fluorescein by the pulse of a high-intensity microbeam, and to monitor influx of solute by microfluorometry. Simple equations are given and a computer curve fitting program is described by which rate constants of influx and membrane permeability coefficients can be derived from fluorescence measurements. The permeability of individual "leaky" human erythrocyte ghosts to fluorescein-isothiocyanate-labelled bovine serum albumin has been measured under various conditions. Multiple exposure to the high-intensity microbeam had no effect on permeability within experimental error. Flux measurements have been also performed on individual vesicles of 1-2 micron radius which had been derived from ghosts. The potential application of the method to sub-lightmicroscopic vesicles and to organelles within living cells is discussed.