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Fluorescence resonance energy transfer and protein-induced fluorescence enhancement as synergetic multi-scale molecular rulers

  • Author(s): Ploetz, Evelyn
  • Lerner, Eitan
  • Husada, Florence
  • Roelfs, Martin
  • Chung, SangYoon
  • Hohlbein, Johannes
  • Weiss, Shimon
  • Cordes, Thorben
  • et al.

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ABSTRACT Advanced microscopy methods allow obtaining information on (dynamic) conformational changes in biomolecules via measuring a single molecular distance in the structure. It is, however, extremely challenging to capture the full depth of a three-dimensional biochemical state, binding-related structural changes or conformational cross-talk in multi-protein complexes using one-dimensional assays. In this paper we address this fundamental problem by extending the standard molecular ruler based on Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) into a two-dimensional assay via its combination with protein-induced fluorescence enhancement (PIFE). We show that donor brightness ( via PIFE) and energy transfer efficiency ( via FRET) can simultaneously report on e.g., the conformational state of dsDNA following its interaction with unlabelled proteins ( BamHI, EcoRV , T7 DNA polymerase gp5/trx). The PIFE-FRET assay uses established labelling protocols and single molecule fluorescence detection schemes (alternating-laser excitation, ALEX). Besides quantitative studies of PIFE and FRET ruler characteristics, we outline possible applications of ALEX-based PIFE-FRET for single-molecule studies with diffusing and immobilized molecules. Finally, we study transcription initiation and scrunching of E. coli RNA-polymerase with PIFE-FRET and provide direct evidence for the physical presence and vicinity of the polymerase that causes structural changes and scrunching of the transcriptional DNA bubble.

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