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Nat Chem. 2010 Mar;2(3):179-86. doi: 10.1038/nchem.545.

Watching conformational- and photo-dynamics of single fluorescent proteins in solution.

Author information

1
Department of Chemistry, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.

Abstract

Observing the dynamics of single biomolecules over prolonged time periods is difficult to achieve without significantly altering the molecule through immobilization. It can, however, be accomplished using the Anti-Brownian ELectrokinetic (ABEL) Trap, which allows extended investigation of solution-phase biomolecules - without immobilization -through real-time electrokinetic feedback. Here we apply the ABEL trap to study an important photosynthetic antenna protein, Allophycocyanin (APC). The technique allows the observation of single molecules of solution-phase APC for more than one second. We observe a complex relationship between fluorescence intensity and lifetime that cannot be explained by simple static kinetic models. Light-induced conformational changes are shown to occur and evidence is obtained for fluctuations in the spontaneous emission lifetime, which is typically assumed to be constant. Our methods provide a new window into the dynamics of fluorescent proteins and the observations are relevant for the interpretation of in vivo single-molecule imaging experiments, bacterial photosynthetic regulation, and biomaterials for solar energy harvesting.

PMID:
20625479
PMCID:
PMC2899709
DOI:
10.1038/nchem.545
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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