Biophysics - smFRET & Dynamic structural biology (Science 2018)
Structural techniques such as x-ray crystallography and electron microscopy give insight into how macromolecules function by providing snapshots of different conformational states. Function also depends on the path between those states, but to see that path involves watching single molecules move. This became possible with the advent of single-molecule Förster resonance energy transfer (smFRET), which was first implemented by the lab of Shimon Weiss in 1996. In the current iussue of "Science Magazine", an author team from UCLA and LMU review how smFRET has been used to study fundamental biological mechanisms relevant for DNA maintenance, replication and transcription, translation, protein folding, enzymatic function, and membrane transport. Lerner & Cordes et al. describe also current limitations of the approach and suggest how future developments may expand the applications of smFRET.
LMU Contact: Thorben Cordes, Physical and Synthetic Biology