Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 24376584
PLoS ONE 2013;8(12):e82799
Membrane proteins move in heterogeneous environments with spatially (sometimes temporally) varying friction and with biochemical interactions with various partners. It is important to reliably distinguish different modes of motion to improve our knowledge of the membrane architecture and to understand the nature of interactions between membrane proteins and their environments. Here, we present an analysis technique for single molecule tracking (SMT) trajectories that can determine the preferred model of motion that best matches observed trajectories. The method is based on Bayesian inference to calculate the posteriori probability of an observed trajectory according to a certain model. Information theory criteria, such as the Bayesian information criterion (BIC), the Akaike information criterion (AIC), and modified AIC (AICc), are used to select the preferred model. The considered group of models includes free Brownian motion, and confined motion in 2nd or 4th order potentials. We determine the best information criteria for classifying trajectories. We tested its limits through simulations matching large sets of experimental conditions and we built a decision tree. This decision tree first uses the BIC to distinguish between free Brownian motion and confined motion. In a second step, it classifies the confining potential further using the AIC. We apply the method to experimental Clostridium Perfingens [Formula: see text]-toxin (CP[Formula: see text]T) receptor trajectories to show that these receptors are confined by a spring-like potential. An adaptation of this technique was applied on a sliding window in the temporal dimension along the trajectory. We applied this adaptation to experimental CP[Formula: see text]T trajectories that lose confinement due to disaggregation of confining domains. This new technique adds another dimension to the discussion of SMT data. The mode of motion of a receptor might hold more biologically relevant information than the diffusion coefficient or domain size and may be a better tool to classify and compare different SMT experiments.