Can your sensor make accurate biochemical measurements?
When you want to make absolute, quantitative measurements with a ratiometric biosensor, we often find it difficult to choose a sensor well-suited for our experimental designs. Or, if we have already choosen a sensor, we usually want to know whether it is accurate enough for our experiments.
For example, it's generally accepted that roGFP1 is a good sensor to measure redox potential in C. elegans cytosol, but that roGFP1-iE might be a better choice for the ER.
This tool serves to quantify that intuition and help you make better-informed choices for your experiments.
This tool puts all sensors into three categories:
To predict whether a sensor is well-suited to your needs, you need to know a few things:
Your microscope and analysis methods will produce noise in your ratiometric measurements. To determine that noise, run through your microscopy pipeline with GFP or another mock sensor, making measurements that should be consistent with each image (for example, 410/410 with a roGFP, or 410/470 with GFP).
Then, use those measurements to estimate your relative error. For example, if you find that 95% of your 410/410 measurements are between 1.02 and 0.98, your relative error is +/- 2.0%.
For example, you may be trying to distinguish between a pH of 7.1 and 7.3, in which case you will need an accuracy of at least 0.2.
You can generally find estimates of these parameters in the literature. We have also aggregated these estimates in the supplementary notes of the associated manuscript.
SensorOverlord needs Rmin, Rmax, delta, and midpoint values. It can either determine some of those from an uploaded spectra file ('Upload Spectra' tab), or you can provide those parameters ('Input Characteristics' tab).
For more information, here are some resources:
SensorOverlord is a full R package that extends the functionality that you have seen in this application. For instructions on how to use and install the SensorOverlord package, see the associated github package.
If you use SensorOverlord in your work, please cite our manuscript as follows:
Stanley, J.A., Johnsen, S.B. & Apfeld, J. The SensorOverlord predicts the accuracy of measurements with ratiometric biosensors. Sci Rep 10, 16843 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-73987-0
The paper includes a much more rigorous overview of the SensorOverlord package, as well as its applications and derivations. It is publically-available here via Scentific Reports.
If you have absolutely any questions related to SensorOverlord, or just want to get in touch, please feel free to reach out to me (Julian) at julianst [at] mit [dot] edu, or to my PI (Dr. Javier Apfeld) at j [dot] apfeld [at] northeastern [dot] edu.
Best of luck with all of your microscopy endeavors!