RNA Therapeutics Institute; Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology
Biochemistry | Bioinformatics | Cell Biology | Molecular Biology
Single-molecule detection in fluorescence nanoscopy has become a powerful tool in cell biology but can present vexing issues in image analysis, such as limited signal, unspecific background, empirically set thresholds, image filtering, and false-positive detection limiting overall detection efficiency. Here we present a framework in which expert knowledge and parameter tweaking are replaced with a probability-based hypothesis test. Our method delivers robust and threshold-free signal detection with a defined error estimate and improved detection of weaker signals. The probability value has consequences for downstream data analysis, such as weighing a series of detections and corresponding probabilities, Bayesian propagation of probability, or defining metrics in tracking applications. We show that the method outperforms all current approaches, yielding a detection efficiency of > 70% and a false-positive detection rate of < 5% under conditions down to 17 photons/pixel background and 180 photons/molecule signal, which is beneficial for any kind of photon-limited application. Examples include limited brightness and photostability, phototoxicity in live-cell single-molecule imaging, and use of new labels for nanoscopy. We present simulations, experimental data, and tracking of low-signal mRNAs in yeast cells.
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Citation: Mol Biol Cell. 2015 Nov 5;26(22):4057-62. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E15-06-0448. Epub 2015 Sep 30. Link to article on publisher's site
Smith, Carlas; Stallinga, Sjoerd; Lidke, Keith A.; Rieger, Bernd; and Grunwald, David, "Probability-based particle detection that enables threshold-free and robust in vivo single-molecule tracking" (2015). University of Massachusetts Medical School Faculty Publications. 865.
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