A method has been developed for the determination of the efficiency (E) of the fluorescence resonance energy transfer between moieties on cell surfaces by use of a computer-controlled flow cytometer capable of dual wavelength excitation. The absolute value of E may be calculated on a single-cell basis. The analysis requires the measurement of samples stained with donor and acceptor conjugated ligands alone as well as together. In model experiments HK 22 murine lymphoma cells labeled with fluorescein-conjugated concanavalin A (Con A) and/or rhodamine conjugated Con A were used to determine energy transfer histograms. Using the analytic solution to energy transfer in two dimensions, a high surface density of Con A binding sites was found that suggests that the Con A receptor sites on the cell surface are to a degree preclustered . We call this technique flow cytometric energy transfer ( FCET ).
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