Send to

Choose Destination
Phys Life Rev. 2014 Mar;11(1):1-30. doi: 10.1016/j.plrev.2013.11.011. Epub 2013 Nov 25.

Biomolecular dynamics and binding studies in the living cell.

Author information

FLI, Beutenbergstr. 11, D-07745 Jena, Germany.


Isolation and preparation of proteins of higher organisms often is a tedious task. In the case of success, the properties of these proteins and their interactions with other proteins can be studied in vitro. If however, these proteins are modified in the cell in order to gain or change function, this is non-trivial to correctly realise in vitro. When, furthermore, the cellular function requires the interplay of more than one or two proteins, in vitro experiments for the analysis of this situation soon become complex. Instead, we thus try to obtain information on the molecular properties of proteins in the living cell. Then, the cell takes care of correct protein folding and modification. A series of molecular techniques are, and new ones become, available which allow for measuring molecular protein properties in the living cell, offering information on concentration (FCS), dynamics (FCS, RICS, FRAP), location (PALM, STED), interactions (F3H, FCCS) and protein proximities (FRET, BRET, FLIM, BiFC). Here, these techniques are presented with their advantages and drawbacks, with examples from our current kinetochore research. The review is supposed to give orientation to researchers planning to enter the field, and inform which techniques help us to gain molecular information on a multi-protein complex. We show that the field of cellular imaging is in a phase of transition: in the future, an increasing amount of physico-chemical data can be determined in the living cell.


Dynamics; Fluorescence microscopy; Live cell imaging; Protein–protein interaction; Proximity

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center