Combining Rapid Microfluidic Mixing and Three-Color Single-Molecule FRET for Probing the Kinetics of Protein Conformational Changes

Stephan Benke, Andrea Holla, Bengt Wunderlich, Andrea Soranno, Daniel Nettels, Benjamin Schuler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Single-molecule Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) is well suited for studying the kinetics of protein conformational changes, owing to its high sensitivity and ability to resolve individual subpopulations in heterogeneous systems. However, the most common approach employing two fluorophores can only monitor one distance at a time, and the use of three fluorophores for simultaneously monitoring multiple distances has largely been limited to equilibrium fluctuations. Here we show that three-color single-molecule FRET can be combined with rapid microfluidic mixing to investigate conformational changes in a protein from milliseconds to minutes. In combination with manual mixing, we extended the kinetics to 1 h, corresponding to a total range of 5 orders of magnitude in time. We studied the monomer-to-protomer conversion of the pore-forming toxin cytolysin A (ClyA), one of the largest protein conformational transitions known. Site-specific labeling of ClyA with three fluorophores enabled us to follow the kinetics of three intramolecular distances at the same time and revealed a previously undetected intermediate. The combination of three-color single-molecule FRET with rapid microfluidic mixing thus provides an approach for probing the mechanisms of complex biomolecular processes with high time resolution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6617-6628
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Volume125
Issue number24
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 24 2021

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