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Single-particle tracking (SPT) is widely used to study processes from membrane receptor organization to the dynamics of RNAs in living cells. While single-dye labeling strategies have the benefit of being minimally invasive, this comes at the expense of data quality; typically a data set of short trajectories is obtained and analyzed by means of the mean square displacements (MSD) or the distribution of the particles' displacements in a set time interval (jump distance, JD). To evaluate the applicability of both approaches, a quantitative comparison of both methods under typically encountered experimental conditions is necessary. Here we use Monte Carlo simulations to systematically compare the accuracy of diffusion coefficients (D-values) obtained for three cases: one population of diffusing species, two populations with different D-values, and a population switching between two D-values. For the first case we find that the MSD gives more or equally accurate results than the JD analysis (relative errors of D-values <6%). If two diffusing species are present or a particle undergoes a motion change, the JD analysis successfully distinguishes both species (relative error <5%). Finally we apply the JD analysis to investigate the motion of endogenous LPS receptors in live macrophages before and after treatment with methyl-β-cyclodextrin and latrunculin B.

Original publication

DOI

10.1371/journal.pone.0064287

Type

Journal article

Journal

PLoS One

Publication Date

2013

Volume

8

Keywords

Algorithms, Animals, Antigens, CD14, Cell Membrane, Coloring Agents, Lipopolysaccharides, Mice, Molecular Probe Techniques, Monte Carlo Method, Toll-Like Receptor 4