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Published October 2013 | Published
Journal Article Open

Deep-tissue photoacoustic tomography of Förster resonance energy transfer


Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) is a distance-dependent process that transfers excited state energy from a donor molecule to an acceptor molecule without the emission of a photon. The FRET rate is determined by the proximity between the donor and the acceptor molecules; it becomes significant only when the proximity is within several nanometers. Therefore, FRET has been applied to visualize interactions and conformational changes of biomolecules, such as proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids that cannot be resolved by optical microscopy. Here, we report photoacoustic tomography of FRET efficiency at a 1-cm depth in chicken breast tissue, whereas conventional high-resolution fluorescence imaging is limited to < 0.1  cm. Photoacoustic tomography is expected to facilitate the examination of FRET phenomena in living organisms.

Additional Information

© 2013 SPIE. Paper 130171SSR received Mar. 25, 2013; revised manuscript received Jul. 1, 2013; accepted for publication Jul. 3, 2013; published online Jul. 23, 2013. The authors appreciate the close reading of the manuscript by Profs. James Ballard and Lynnea Brumbaugh. They also thank Alejandro Garcia-Uribe for helping with data processing and manuscript preparation. This work was sponsored in part by National Institutes of Health grants R01 EB000712, R01 EB008085, R01 CA134539, U54 CA136398, R01 CA157277, R01 CA159959, and DP1 EB016986 (NIH Director's Pioneer Award). L. V.W. has a financial interest in Microphotoacoustics, Inc. and Endra, Inc., which, however, did not support this work.

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