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Keywords:

  • Cyan fluorescent protein;
  • DAS;
  • decay-associated spectra;
  • ethidium bromide;
  • fluorescence microscopy;
  • spectrally resolved fluorescence decay;
  • TCSPC;
  • time- and space-correlated single-photon counting;
  • TSCSPC

Summary

Time-resolved microspectrofluorometry in live cells, based on time- and space-correlated single-photon counting, is a novel method to acquire spectrally resolved fluorescence decays, simultaneously in 256 wavelength channels. The system is calibrated with a full width at half maximum (FWHM) of 90 ps for the temporal resolution, a signal-to-noise ratio of 106, and a spectral resolution of 30 (Δλ/Λ). As an exemple, complex fluorescence dynamics of ethidium and cyan fluorescent protein (CFP) in live cells are presented. Free and DNA intercalated forms of ethidium are simultaneously distinguishable by their relative lifetime (1.7 ns and 21.6 ns) and intensity spectra (shift of 7 nm). By analysing the complicated spectrally resolved fluorescence decay of CFP, we propose a fluorescence kinetics model for its excitation/desexcitation process. Such detailed studies under the microscope and in live cells are very promising for fluorescence signal quantification.