Fluorescence intensity and lifetime distribution analysis: toward higher accuracy in fluorescence fluctuation spectroscopy.
Palo K., Brand L., Eggeling C., Jäger S., Kask P., Gall K.
Fluorescence fluctuation methods such as fluorescence correlation spectroscopy and fluorescence intensity distribution analysis (FIDA) have proven to be versatile tools for studying molecular interactions with single molecule sensitivity. Another well-known fluorescence technique is the measurement of the fluorescence lifetime. Here, we introduce a method that combines the benefits of both FIDA and fluorescence lifetime analysis. It is based on fitting the two-dimensional histogram of the number of photons detected in counting time intervals of given width and the sum of excitation to detection delay times of these photons. Referred to as fluorescence intensity and lifetime distribution analysis (FILDA), the technique distinguishes fluorescence species on the basis of both their specific molecular brightness and the lifetime of the excited state and is also able to determine absolute fluorophore concentrations. The combined information yielded by FILDA results in significantly increased accuracy compared to that of FIDA or fluorescence lifetime analysis alone. In this paper, the theory of FILDA is elaborated and applied to both simulated and experimental data. The outstanding power of this technique in resolving different species is shown by quantifying the binding of calmodulin to a peptide ligand, thus indicating the potential for application of FILDA to similar problems in the life sciences.