Focal switching of photochromic fluorescent proteins enables multiphoton microscopy with superior image contrast

Ya-Ting Kao, Xinxin Zhu, Fang Xu, Wei Min*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Probing biological structures and functions deep inside live organisms with light is highly desirable. Among the current optical imaging modalities, multiphoton fluorescence microscopy exhibits the best contrast for imaging scattering samples by employing a spatially confined nonlinear excitation. However, as the incident laser power drops exponentially with imaging depth into the sample due to the scattering loss, the out-of-focus background eventually overwhelms the in-focus signal, which defines a fundamental imaging-depth limit. Herein we significantly improve the image contrast for deep scattering samples by harnessing reversibly switchable fluorescent proteins (RSFPs) which can be cycled between bright and dark states upon light illumination. Two distinct techniques, multiphoton deactivation and imaging (MPDI) and multiphoton activation and imaging (MPAI), are demonstrated on tissue phantoms labeled with Dronpa protein. Such a focal switch approach can generate pseudo background-free images. Conceptually different from wave-based approaches that try to reduce light scattering in turbid samples, our work represents a molecule-based strategy that focused on imaging probes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1955-1963
Number of pages9
JournalBiomedical Optics Express
Volume3
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2012

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