Choosing the right fluorophore for single-molecule fluorescence studies in a lipid environment.


Nonspecific interactions between lipids and fluorophores can alter the outcomes of single-molecule spectroscopy of membrane proteins in live cells, liposomes or lipid nanodiscs and of cytosolic proteins encapsulated in liposomes or tethered to supported lipid bilayers. To gain insight into these effects, we examined interactions between 9 dyes that are commonly used as labels for single-molecule fluorescence (SMF) and 6 standard lipids including cationic, zwitterionic and anionic types. The diffusion coefficients of dyes in the absence and presence of set amounts of lipid vesicles were measured by fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS). The partition coefficients and the free energies of partitioning for different fluorophore-lipid pairs were obtained by global fitting of the titration FCS curves. Lipids with different charges, head groups and degrees of chain saturation were investigated, and interactions with dyes are discussed in terms of hydrophobic, electrostatic and steric contributions. Fluorescence imaging of individual fluorophores adsorbed on supported lipid bilayers provides visualization and additional quantification of the strength of dye-lipid interaction in the context of single-molecule measurements. By dissecting fluorophore-lipid interactions, our study provides new insights into setting up single-molecule fluorescence spectroscopy experiments with minimal interference from interactions between fluorescent labels and lipids in the environment.

DOI: 10.1016/j.bbamem.2017.04.001

Cite this paper

@article{Zhang2017ChoosingTR, title={Choosing the right fluorophore for single-molecule fluorescence studies in a lipid environment.}, author={Zhenfu Zhang and Dan Yomo and Claudiu C. Gradinaru}, journal={Biochimica et biophysica acta}, year={2017}, volume={1859 7}, pages={1242-1253} }