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3 March 2009 Quantifying colocalization of a conditionally active transcription factor FOXP3 in three-dimensional cellular space
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Biological macromolecular interactions between proteins, transcription factors, DNA and other types of biomolecules, are fundamentally important to several cellular and biological processes. 3D Multi-channel confocal microscopy and colocalization analysis of fluorescent signals have proven to be invaluable tools for detecting such molecular interactions. The aim of this work was to quantify colocalization of the FOXP3 transcription factor in 3D cellular space generated from the confocal 3D image sets. 293T cells transfected with a conditionally active form of FOXP3 were stained for nuclei with Hoechst, for FOXP3 with anti-FOXP3 conjugated to PE, and 4-hydroxytamoxifen used as protein translocation and activation agent. Since the protein signal was weak and nonspecific intensity contributions were strong, it was difficult to perform colocalization analysis and estimate colocalization quantities. We performed 3D restoration by deconvolution method on the confocal images using experimentally measured point spread functions (PSFs) and subsequently a color shift correction. The deconvolution method eliminated nonspecific intensity contributions originating from PSF imposed by optical microscopy diffraction resolution limits and noise since these factors significantly affected colocalization analysis and quantification. Visual inspection of the deconvolved 3D image suggested that the FOXP3 molecules are predominantly colocalized within the nuclei although the fluorescent signals from FOXP3 molecules were also present in the cytoplasm. A close inspection of the scatter plot (colocalization map) and correlation quantities such as the Pearsons and colocalization coefficients showed that the fluorescent signals from the FOXP3 molecules and DNA are strongly correlated. In conclusion, our colocalization quantification approach confirms the preferential association of the FOXP3 molecules with the DNA despite the presence of fluorescent signals from the former one both in the nuclei and cytoplasm.
© (2009) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Thomas Abraham, Sarah E. Allan, and Megan K. Levings "Quantifying colocalization of a conditionally active transcription factor FOXP3 in three-dimensional cellular space", Proc. SPIE 7184, Three-Dimensional and Multidimensional Microscopy: Image Acquisition and Processing XVI, 718419 (3 March 2009);

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