Scanning image correlation spectroscopy

Bioessays. 2012 May;34(5):377-85. doi: 10.1002/bies.201100118. Epub 2012 Mar 13.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Tracking / methods*
  • Fluorescence Recovery After Photobleaching / methods
  • Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer / methods
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Humans
  • Huntington Disease / diagnosis
  • Microscopy, Confocal / methods
  • Molecular Dynamics Simulation
  • Spectrometry, Fluorescence / methods*


  • Green Fluorescent Proteins