Global analysis of autocorrelation functions and photon counting distributions

Front Biosci (Elite Ed). 2011 Jan 1;3:489-505. doi: 10.2741/e264.


In fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS) and photon counting histogram (PCH) analysis the same experimental fluorescence intensity fluctuations are used, but each analytical method focuses on a different property of the signal. The time-dependent decay of the correlation of fluorescence fluctuations is measured in FCS yielding, for instance, molecular diffusion coefficients. The amplitude distribution of these fluctuations is calculated by PCH yielding the molecular brightness. Both FCS and PCH give information about the molecular concentration. Here we describe a global analysis protocol that simultaneously recovers relevant and common parameters in model functions of FCS and PCH from a single fluorescence fluctuation trace. The global analysis approach is described and tested with experimental fluorescence fluctuation data of enhanced green-fluorescent protein (eGFP) and dimeric eGFP (two eGFP molecules connected by a six amino acid long linker) in aqueous buffer. Brightness values and diffusion constants are recovered with good precision elucidating novel excited-state and motional properties of both proteins.

MeSH terms

  • Dimerization
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / metabolism
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Optics and Photonics / methods*
  • Photons*
  • Software*
  • Spectrometry, Fluorescence / methods*
  • Time Factors


  • enhanced green fluorescent protein
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins