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  1. Two-photon excited fluorescence (TPEF) is a powerful technique that enables the examination of intrinsic retinal fluorophores involved in cellular metabolism and the visual cycle. Although previous intensity-based TPEF studies in non-human primates have successfully imaged several classes of retinal cells and elucidated aspects of both rod and cone photoreceptor function, fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) of the retinal cells under light-dark visual cycle has yet to be fully exploited. Here we demonstrate a FLIM assay of photoreceptors and retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) that reveals key insights into retinal physiology and adaptation. We found that photoreceptor fluorescence lifetimes increase and decrease in sync with light and dark exposure, respectively. This is likely due to changes in all-trans-retinol and all-trans-retinal levels in the outer segments, mediated by phototransduction and visual cycle activity. During light exposure, RPE fluorescence lifetime was observed to increase steadily over time, as a result of all-trans-retinol accumulation during the visual cycle and decreasing metabolism caused by the lack of normal perfusion of the sample. Our system can measure the fluorescence lifetime of intrinsic retinal fluorophores on a cellular scale, revealing differences in lifetime between retinal cell classes under different conditions of light and dark exposure.

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  2. Mapping molecular deformation and forces in protein biomaterials is critical to understanding mechanochemistry.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 7, 2024
  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 13, 2025
  4. Since the early 1990s, single-molecule detection in solution at room temperature has enabled direct observation of single biomolecules at work in real time and under physiological conditions, providing insights into complex biological systems that the traditional ensemble methods cannot offer. In particular, recent advances in single-molecule tracking techniques allow researchers to follow individual biomolecules in their native environments for a timescale of seconds to minutes, revealing not only the distinct pathways these biomolecules take for downstream signaling but also their roles in supporting life. In this review, we discuss various single-molecule tracking and imaging techniques developed to date, with an emphasis on advanced three-dimensional (3D) tracking systems that not only achieve ultrahigh spatiotemporal resolution but also provide sufficient working depths suitable for tracking single molecules in 3D tissue models. We then summarize the observables that can be extracted from the trajectory data. Methods to perform single-molecule clustering analysis and future directions are also discussed.

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  5. Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2024
  6. In this work, a deep learning-based method, STED-flimGANE, is introduced to achieve enhanced STED imaging resolution under a low STED-beam power and photon-starved conditions.

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  7. Periasamy, Ammasi ; So, Peter T. ; König, Karsten (Ed.)
  8. Fluorescent light-up aptamers (FLAPs) are well-performed biosensors for cellular imaging and the detection of different targets of interest, including RNA, non-nucleic acid molecules, metal ions, and so on. They could be easily designed and emit a strong fluorescence signal once bound to specified fluorogens. Recently, one unique aptamer called Mango-II has been discovered to possess a strong affinity and excellent fluorescent properties with fluorogens TO1-Biotin and TO3-Biotin. To explore the binding mechanisms, computational simulations have been performed to obtain structural and thermodynamic information about FLAPs at atomic resolution. AMOEBA polarizable force field, with the capability of handling the highly charged and flexible RNA system, was utilized for the simulation of Mango-II with TO1-Biotin and TO3-Biotin in this work. The calculated binding free energy using published crystal structures is in excellent agreement with the experimental values. Given the challenges in modeling complex RNA dynamics, our work demonstrates that MD simulation with a polarizable force field is valuable for understanding aptamer-fluorogen binding and potentially designing new aptamers or fluorogens with better performance. 
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  9. Xu, Jinbo (Ed.)
    Abstract Motivation Motions of transmembrane receptors on cancer cell surfaces can reveal biophysical features of the cancer cells, thus providing a method for characterizing cancer cell phenotypes. While conventional analysis of receptor motions in the cell membrane mostly relies on the mean-squared displacement plots, much information is lost when producing these plots from the trajectories. Here we employ deep learning to classify breast cancer cell types based on the trajectories of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). Our model is an artificial neural network trained on the EGFR motions acquired from six breast cancer cell lines of varying invasiveness and receptor status: MCF7 (hormone receptor positive), BT474 (HER2-positive), SKBR3 (HER2-positive), MDA-MB-468 (triple negative, TN), MDA-MB-231 (TN) and BT549 (TN). Results The model successfully classified the trajectories within individual cell lines with 83% accuracy and predicted receptor status with 85% accuracy. To further validate the method, epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) was induced in benign MCF10A cells, noninvasive MCF7 cancer cells and highly invasive MDA-MB-231 cancer cells, and EGFR trajectories from these cells were tested. As expected, after EMT induction, both MCF10A and MCF7 cells showed higher rates of classification as TN cells, but not the MDA-MB-231 cells. Whereas deep learning-based cancer cell classifications are primarily based on the optical transmission images of cell morphology and the fluorescence images of cell organelles or cytoskeletal structures, here we demonstrated an alternative way to classify cancer cells using a dynamic, biophysical feature that is readily accessible. Availability and implementation A python implementation of deep learning-based classification can be found at Supplementary information Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online. 
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