Panorama of DNA hairpin folding observed via diffusion-decelerated fluorescence correlation spectroscopy.
ABSTRACT Based on a confocal microscopy platform, we extended the FCS time window by three orders of magnitude to the s timescale by attaching a polystyrene microsphere. We simultaneously monitored the relaxations of multiple intermediates involved in DNA hairpin folding, thus offering a much more detailed view of the kinetics of hairpin folding experimentally.
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ABSTRACT: The picosecond time-resolved fluorescence decay data of nine single-tryptophan (trp) proteins and two multi-trp proteins in their native and denatured states were analyzed by the maximum entropy method (MEM). In the denatured state (6 M guanidine hydrochloride) a majority of the single-trp proteins show bimodal (at 25 degrees C) and trimodal (at 85 degrees C) distributions with similar patterns and similar values for average lifetimes. In the native state of the proteins the lifetime distributions were bimodal or trimodal. These results (multimodal distributions) are contradictory to the unimodal Lorentzian distribution of lifetimes reported for some proteins in the native and denatured states. MEM analysis gives a unimodal distribution of lifetimes only when the signal-to-noise ratio is poor in the time-resolved fluorescence decay data. The unimodal distribution model is therefore not realistic for proteins in the native and denatured states. The fluorescence decay components of the bi- or trimodal distribution are associated with the rotamer structures of the indole moiety when the protein is in the random coil state.Biophysical Journal 12/1994; 67(5):2013-23. · 3.67 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Elucidating the mechanism of folding of polynucleotides depends on accurate estimates of free energy surfaces and a quantitative description of the kinetics of structure formation. Here, the kinetics of hairpin formation in single-stranded DNA are measured after a laser temperature jump. The kinetics are modeled as configurational diffusion on a free energy surface obtained from a statistical mechanical description of equilibrium melting profiles. The effective diffusion coefficient is found to be strongly temperature-dependent in the nucleation step as a result of formation of misfolded loops that do not lead to subsequent zipping. This simple system exhibits many of the features predicted from theoretical studies of protein folding, including a funnel-like energy surface with many folding pathways, trapping in misfolded conformations, and non-Arrhenius folding rates.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 08/2001; 98(14):7771-6. · 9.74 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Gel electrophoresis is a standard biochemical technique used for separating biomolecules on the basis of size and charge. Despite the use of gels in early single-molecule experiments, gel electrophoresis has not been widely adopted for single-molecule fluorescence spectroscopy. We present a novel method that combines gel electrophoresis and single-molecule fluorescence spectroscopy to simultaneously purify and analyze biomolecules in a gel matrix. Our method, in-gel alternating-laser excitation (ALEX), uses nondenaturing gels to purify biomolecular complexes of interest from free components, aggregates, and nonspecific complexes. The gel matrix also slows down translational diffusion of molecules, giving rise to long, high-resolution time traces without surface immobilization, which allow extended observations of conformational dynamics in a biologically friendly environment. We demonstrated the compatibility of this method with different types of single molecule spectroscopy techniques, including confocal detection and fluorescence-correlation spectroscopy. We demonstrated that in-gel ALEX can be used to study conformational dynamics at the millisecond time scale; by studying a DNA hairpin in gels, we directly observed fluorescence fluctuations due to conformational interconversion between folded and unfolded states. Our method is amenable to the addition of small molecules that can alter the equilibrium and dynamic properties of the system. In-gel ALEX will be a versatile tool for studying structures and dynamics of complex biomolecules and their assemblies.Analytical Chemistry 10/2009; 81(23):9561-70. · 5.70 Impact Factor