Investigation of Nanoscopic Phase Separations in Lipid Membranes Using Inverse FCS

Yanfei Jiang, Kenneth M. Pryse, Artem Melnykov, Guy M. Genin, Elliot L. Elson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Measurement of the sizes of nanoscopic particles is a difficult challenge, especially in two-dimensional systems such as cell membranes. We have extended inverse fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (iFCS) to endow it with unique advantages for measuring particle size from the nano- to the microscale. We have augmented iFCS with an analysis of moments of fluorescence fluctuations and used it to measure stages of phase separation in model lipid bilayer membranes. We observed two different pathways for the growth of phase domains. In one, nanoscopic gel domains appeared first and then gradually grew to micrometer size. In the other, the domains reached micrometer size quickly, and their number gradually increased. These measurements demonstrate the value of iFCS measurements through their ability, to our knowledge, to provide new information about the mechanism of lipid phase separation and potentially about the physical basis of naturally occurring nanodomains such as lipid rafts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2367-2376
Number of pages10
JournalBiophysical Journal
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 6 2017


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