Molecular interactions are at the origin of life. How molecules get at different locations in the cell and how they locate their partners is a major and partially unresolved question in biology that is paramount to signaling. Spatio-temporal correlations of fluctuating fluorescently tagged molecules reveal how they move, interact, and bind in the different cellular compartments. Methods based on fluctuations represent a remarkable technical advancement in biological imaging. Here we discuss image analysis methods based on spatial and temporal correlation of fluctuations, raster image correlation spectroscopy, number and brightness, and spatial cross-correlations that give us information about how individual molecules move in cells and interact with partners at the single molecule level. These methods can be implemented with a standard laser scanning microscope and produce a cellular level spatio-temporal map of molecular interactions.
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