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Studies of single-molecule dynamics in microorganisms


Turkowyd,  Bartosz
Department of Systems and Synthetic Microbiology, Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Turkowyd, B. (2019). Studies of single-molecule dynamics in microorganisms. PhD Thesis, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Marburg.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0008-EEB8-D
Fluorescence microscopy is one of the most extensively used techniques in the life sciences. Considering the non-invasive sample preparation, enabling live-cell compliant imaging, and the specific fluorescence labeling, allowing for a specific visualization of virtually any cellular compound, it is possible to localize even a single molecule in living cells. This makes modern fluorescence microscopy a powerful toolbox. In the recent decades, the development of new, "super-resolution" fluorescence microscopy techniques, which surpass the diffraction limit, revolutionized the field. Single-Molecule Localization Microscopy (SMLM) is a class of super-resolution microscopy methods and it enables resolution of down to tens of nanometers. SMLM methods like Photoactivated Localization Microscopy (PALM), (direct) Stochastic Optical Reconstruction Microscopy ((d)STORM), Ground-State Depletion followed by Individual Molecule Return (GSDIM) and Point Accumulation for Imaging in Nanoscale Topography (PAINT) have allowed to investigate both, the intracellular spatial organization of proteins and to observe their real-time dynamics at the single-molecule level in live cells. The focus of this thesis was the development of novel tools and strategies for live-cell SingleParticle Tracking PALM (sptPALM) imaging and implementing them for biological research. In the first part of this thesis, I describe the development of new Photoconvertible Fluorescent Proteins (pcFPs) which are optimized for sptPALM lowering the phototoxic damage caused by the imaging procedure. Furthermore, we show that we can utilize them together with Photoactivatable Fluorescent Proteins (paFPs) to enable multi-target labeling and read-out in a single color channel, which significantly simplifies the sample preparation and imaging routines as well as data analysis of multi-color PALM imaging of live cells. In parallel to developing new fluorescent proteins, I developed a high throughput data analysis pipeline. I have implemented this pipeline in my second project, described in the second part of this thesis, where I have investigated the protein organization and dynamics of the CRISPR-Cas antiviral defense mechanism of bacteria in vivo at a high spatiotemporal level with the sptPALM approach. I was successful to show the differences in the target search dynamics of the CRISPR effector complexes as well as of single Cas proteins for different target complementarities. I have also first data describing longer-lasting bound-times between effector complex and their potential targets in vivo, for which only in vitro data has been available till today. In summary, this thesis is a significant contribution for both, the advances of current sptPALM imaging methods, as well as for the understanding of the native behavior of CRISPR-Cas systems in vivo.