Over the last two decades, intrinsically disordered proteins and protein regions (IDRs) have emerged from a niche corner of biophysics to be recognized as essential drivers of cellular function. Various techniques have provided fundamental insight into the function and dysfunction of IDRs. Among these techniques, single-molecule fluorescence spectroscopy and molecular simulations have played a major role in shaping our modern understanding of the sequence-encoded conformational behavior of disordered proteins. While both techniques are frequently used in isolation, when combined they offer synergistic and complementary information that can help uncover complex molecular details. Here we offer an overview of single-molecule fluorescence spectroscopy and molecular simulations in the context of studying disordered proteins. We discuss the various means in which simulations and single-molecule spectroscopy can be integrated, and consider a number of studies in which this integration has uncovered biological and biophysical mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-135
Number of pages20
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • All-atom simulations
  • FRET
  • Fluorescence correlation spectroscopy
  • Förster resonance energy transfer
  • Intrinsically disordered proteins
  • Molecular simulations
  • Protein folding
  • Single-molecule spectroscopy
  • smFRET


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