The eukaryotic cell nucleus is composed by heterogeneous biological structures, such as the nuclear envelope (NE) and chromatin. At a morphological level, chromatin organization and its interactions with nuclear structures, such as nuclear lamina (NL) and nuclear pore complex (NPC), are suggested to play an essential role in the regulation of gene activity, which involves the packaging of the genome into transcriptionally active and inactive sites, bound to healthy cell proliferation and maintenance. However, the processes governing the relation between nuclear structures and gene regulation are still unclear. For this reason, the advanced microscopy methods represent a powerful tool for imaging nuclear structures at the nanometer level, which is essential to understand the effect of nuclear interactions on genome function. The nanometer information may be achieved either through the advanced imaging techniques in combination with fluorescence spectroscopy or with the help of super-resolution methods, increasing the spatial resolution of the conventional optical microscopy. In this thesis, I implemented a double strategy based on a novel FLIM-FRET assay and super resolution SPLIT-STED method for the investigation of the chromatin organization and nuclear envelope components (lamins and NPC) at the nanoscale, in combination with the phasor analysis. The phasor approach can be applied to several fluorescence microscopy techniques abled to provide an image with an additional information in a third channel. Phasor plot is a graphical representation, which decodes the fluorescence dynamics encoded in the image, revealing a powerful tool for the data analysis in time-resolved imaging. The Chapter 1 of the thesis is characterized by an Introduction, which provides an overview on the chromatin organization at the nanoscale and the description of the several advanced fluorescence microscopy techniques used for its investigation. They are broadly divided into two main categories: the advanced imaging techniques, such as Fluorescence Correlation Spectroscopy (FCS), single particle tracking (SPT) and Fluorescence Recovery After Photobleaching (FRAP), Forster Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET) and Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging Microscopy (FLIM) and the super-resolution techniques, which include Stimulated Emission Depletion (STED), Structured Illumination Microscopy (SIM) and single molecule localization microscopy (SMLM). Following, Chapter 2 focus on the capabilities of the phasor approach in time-resolved microscopy, as a powerful tool for the analysis of the experimental data. After a description of the principles of time-domain and frequency-domain measurements, in this section are explained the rules of the phasor analysis and its applications in different fluorescence microscopy techniques. In Chapter 3, I present a FRET assay, based on the staining of the nuclei with two DNA-binding dyes (e.g. Hoechst 33342 and Syto Green 13) by using frequency-domain detection of FLIM and the phasor analysis in live interphase nuclei. I show that the FRET level strongly depends on the relative concentration of the two fluorophores. I describe a method to correct the values of FRET efficiency and demonstrate that, with this correction, the FLIM-FRET assay can be used to quantify variations of nanoscale chromatin compaction in live cells. In Chapter 4, the phasor analysis is employed to the improvement of the resolving power of the super-resolution STED microscopy. I describe a novel method to investigate nuclear structures at the nanometer level, known as SPLIT (Separation of Photons by Lifetime Tuning), developed by my group in last years. By using the phasor approach, the SPLIT technique decodes the variations of spectroscopic parameters of fluorophores, such as lifetime and fluorescence intensity, due to the effect of the modulated depletion power of the STED technique, increasing the resolving power. In this chapter, I develop the concept of the SPLIT method modulating the excitation pattern during the image acquisition to overcome its limitation linked to the photobleaching effect and the signal-to-noise ratio.
|Titolo della tesi:||NANOSCALE INVESTIGATION OF NUCLEAR STRUCTURES BY TIME-RESOLVED MICROSCOPY|
|Data di discussione:||26-mar-2020|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||Tesi di dottorato|