Classification of dynamical diffusion states in single molecule tracking microscopy
Biophys. J. , Volume 107 p. 588- 598
Single molecule tracking of membrane proteins by fluorescence microscopy is a promising method to investigate dynamic processes in live cells. Translating the trajectories of proteins to biological implications, such as protein interactions, requires the classification of protein motion within the trajectories. Spatial information of protein motion may reveal where the protein interacts with cellular structures, because binding of proteins to such structures often alters their diffusion speed. For dynamic diffusion systems, we provide an analytical framework to determine in which diffusion state a molecule is residing during the course of its trajectory. We compare different methods for the quantification of motion to utilize this framework for the classification of two diffusion states (two populations with different diffusion speed). We found that a gyration quantification method and a Bayesian statistics-based method are the most accurate in diffusion-state classification for realistic experimentally obtained datasets, of which the gyration method is much less computationally demanding. After classification of the diffusion, the lifetime of the states can be determined, and images of the diffusion states can be reconstructed at high resolution. Simulations validate these applications. We apply the classification and its applications to experimental data to demonstrate the potential of this approach to obtain further insights into the dynamics of cell membrane proteins.