Journal article

Challenges in quantitative single molecule localization microscopy

Single molecule localization microscopy (SMLM), which can provide up to an order of magnitude improvement in spatial resolution over conventional fluorescence microscopy, has the potential to be a highly useful tool for quantitative biological experiments. It has already been used for this purpose in varied fields in biology, ranging from molecular biology to neuroscience. In this review article, we briefly review the applications of SMLM in quantitative biology, and also the challenges involved and some of the solutions that have been proposed. Due to its advantages in labeling specificity and the relatively low overcounting caused by photoblinking when photo-activable fluorescent proteins (PA-FPs) are used as labels, we focus specifically on Photo-Activated Localization Microscopy (PALM), even though the ideas presented might be applicable to SMLM in general. Also, we focus on the following three quantitative measurements: single molecule counting, analysis of protein spatial distribution heterogeneity and co-localization analysis. © 2014 Federation of European Biochemical Societies. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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