Plasmon Rulers as Dynamic Molecular Rulers in Enzymology

Department of Chemistry, The Photonics Center, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
Methods in enzymology (Impact Factor: 2.09). 01/2010; 475:175-98. DOI: 10.1016/S0076-6879(10)75008-4
Source: PubMed


This chapter provides an introduction to the concept of "plasmon rulers," pairs of biopolymer-linked tethered nanoparticles which act as nonblinking, nonbleaching rulers for dynamic molecular distance measurements. Plasmon rulers utilize the distance dependence of the plasmon coupling between individual noble metal particles to measure distances. Although the plasmon ruler approach is still an emerging technology, proof-of-principle experiments have demonstrated that plasmon rulers can already be used to investigate structural fluctuations in nucleoprotein complexes, monitor nuclease catalyzed DNA or RNA cleavage reactions, and detect DNA bending. The physical concepts underlying plasmon rulers are summarized, and effective assembly approaches as well as recent applications are discussed. Plasmon rulers are a useful addition to the single molecule biophysics toolbox, since they allow single biomolecules to be continuously monitored for days at high temporal resolutions.

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