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Special Issue "Förster Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET)"

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A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Physical Chemistry, Theoretical and Computational Chemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2012)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Herbert Schneckenburger (Website)

Institute of Applied Research, Aalen University, Beethovenstr. 1, 73430 Aalen, Germany
Phone: +49 7361 576-3401
Interests: biomedical optics; microscopy; fluorescence; FRET

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) describes a non-radiative transfer of excitation energy from a donor to an acceptor molecule in the nanometre range. Although biological systems, e.g. photosynthetic organisms, have been using this mechanism for millions of years, it lasted until 1946, when Th. Förster described it theoretically. With the wide-spread use of fluorescent proteins in cell biology since the 1990’s, FRET experiments gained considerable importance for measurements of molecular conformations or interactions, even down to the single molecule level. This special volume is dedicated to the principles and applications of FRET ranging from model systems to living organisms.

Prof. Dr. Herbert Schneckenburger
Guest Editor

Keywords

  • Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET)

Published Papers (12 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Förster Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET) between Heterogeneously Distributed Probes: Application to Lipid Nanodomains and Pores
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2012, 13(12), 16141-16156; doi:10.3390/ijms131216141
Received: 9 October 2012 / Revised: 14 November 2012 / Accepted: 16 November 2012 / Published: 30 November 2012
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Abstract
The formation of membrane heterogeneities, e.g., lipid domains and pores, leads to a redistribution of donor (D) and acceptor (A) molecules according to their affinity to the structures formed and the remaining bilayer. If such changes sufficiently influence the Förster resonance energy [...] Read more.
The formation of membrane heterogeneities, e.g., lipid domains and pores, leads to a redistribution of donor (D) and acceptor (A) molecules according to their affinity to the structures formed and the remaining bilayer. If such changes sufficiently influence the Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) efficiency, these changes can be further analyzed in terms of nanodomain/pore size. This paper is a continuation of previous work on this theme. In particular, it is demonstrated how FRET experiments should be planned and how data should be analyzed in order to achieve the best possible resolution. The limiting resolution of domains and pores are discussed simultaneously, in order to enable direct comparison. It appears that choice of suitable donor/acceptor pairs is the most crucial step in the design of experiments. For instance, it is recommended to use DA pairs, which exhibit an increased affinity to pores (i.e., partition coefficients KD,A > 10) for the determination of pore sizes with radii comparable to the Förster radius R0. On the other hand, donors and acceptors exhibiting a high affinity to different phases are better suited for the determination of domain sizes. The experimental setup where donors and acceptors are excluded from the domains/pores should be avoided. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Förster Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET))
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Open AccessArticle Cholesterol-Dependent Energy Transfer between Fluorescent Proteins—Insights into Protein Proximity of APP and BACE1 in Different Membranes in Niemann-Pick Type C Disease Cells
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2012, 13(12), 15801-15812; doi:10.3390/ijms131215801
Received: 18 October 2012 / Revised: 14 November 2012 / Accepted: 15 November 2012 / Published: 26 November 2012
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (560 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) -based techniques have recently been applied to study the interactions between β-site APP-cleaving enzyme-GFP (BACE1-GFP) and amyloid precursor protein-mRFP (APP-mRFP) in U373 glioblastoma cells. In this context, the role of APP-BACE1 proximity in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathogenesis [...] Read more.
Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) -based techniques have recently been applied to study the interactions between β-site APP-cleaving enzyme-GFP (BACE1-GFP) and amyloid precursor protein-mRFP (APP-mRFP) in U373 glioblastoma cells. In this context, the role of APP-BACE1 proximity in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathogenesis has been discussed. FRET was found to depend on intracellular cholesterol levels and associated alterations in membrane stiffness. Here, NPC1 null cells (CHO-NPC1−/−), exhibiting increased cholesterol levels and disturbed cholesterol transport similar to that observed in Niemann-Pick type C disease (NPC), were used to analyze the influence of altered cholesterol levels on APP-BACE1 proximity. Fluorescence lifetime measurements of whole CHO-wild type (WT) and CHO-NPC1−/− cells (EPI-illumination microscopy), as well as their plasma membranes (total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy, TIRFM), were performed. Additionally, generalized polarization (GP) measurements of CHO-WT and CHO-NPC1−/− cells incubated with the fluorescence marker laurdan were performed to determine membrane stiffness of plasma- and intracellular-membranes. CHO-NPC1−/− cells showed higher membrane stiffness at intracellular- but not plasma-membranes, equivalent to cholesterol accumulation in late endosomes/lysosomes. Along with higher membrane stiffness, the FRET efficiency between BACE1-GFP and APP-mRFP was reduced at intracellular membranes, but not within the plasma membrane of CHO-NPC1−/−. Our data show that FRET combined with TIRF is a powerful technique to determine protein proximity and membrane fluidity in cellular models of neurodegenerative diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Förster Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET))
Open AccessArticle Modification of Förster Resonance Energy Transfer Efficiencyat Interfaces
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2012, 13(11), 15227-15240; doi:10.3390/ijms131115227
Received: 7 October 2012 / Revised: 10 November 2012 / Accepted: 13 November 2012 / Published: 19 November 2012
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1162 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We present a theoretical study on the impact of an interface on the FRET efficiency of a surface-bound acceptor-donor system. The FRET efficiency can be modified by two effects. Firstly, the donor’s electromagnetic field at the acceptor’s position is changed due to [...] Read more.
We present a theoretical study on the impact of an interface on the FRET efficiency of a surface-bound acceptor-donor system. The FRET efficiency can be modified by two effects. Firstly, the donor’s electromagnetic field at the acceptor’s position is changed due to the partial reflection of the donor’s field. Secondly, both the donor’s and the acceptor’s quantum yield of fluorescence can be changed due to the interface-induced enhancement of the radiative emission rate (Purcell effect). Numerical results for a FRET-pair at a glass-water interface are given. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Förster Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET))
Open AccessArticle Simple Estimation of Förster Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET) Orientation Factor Distribution in Membranes
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2012, 13(11), 15252-15270; doi:10.3390/ijms131115252
Received: 20 September 2012 / Revised: 7 November 2012 / Accepted: 13 November 2012 / Published: 19 November 2012
Cited by 22 | PDF Full-text (368 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Because of its acute sensitivity to distance in the nanometer scale, Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) has found a large variety of applications in many fields of chemistry, physics, and biology. One important issue regarding the correct usage of FRET is its [...] Read more.
Because of its acute sensitivity to distance in the nanometer scale, Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) has found a large variety of applications in many fields of chemistry, physics, and biology. One important issue regarding the correct usage of FRET is its dependence on the donor-acceptor relative orientation, expressed as the orientation factor κ2. Different donor/acceptor conformations can lead to κ2 values in the 0 ≤ κ2 ≤ 4 range. Because the characteristic distance for FRET, R0, is proportional to (κ2)1/6, uncertainties in the orientation factor are reflected in the quality of information that can be retrieved from a FRET experiment. In most cases, the average value of κ2 corresponding to the dynamic isotropic limit (<κ2> = 2/3) is used for computation of R0 and hence donor-acceptor distances and acceptor concentrations. However, this can lead to significant error in unfavorable cases. This issue is more critical in membrane systems, because of their intrinsically anisotropic nature and their reduced fluidity in comparison to most common solvents. Here, a simple numerical simulation method for estimation of the probability density function of κ2 for membrane-embedded donor and acceptor fluorophores in the dynamic regime is presented. In the simplest form, the proposed procedure uses as input the most probable orientations of the donor and acceptor transition dipoles, obtained by experimental (including linear dichroism) or theoretical (such as molecular dynamics simulation) techniques. Optionally, information about the widths of the donor and/or acceptor angular distributions may be incorporated. The methodology is illustrated for special limiting cases and common membrane FRET pairs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Förster Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET))
Open AccessArticle Lateral Distribution of NBD-PC Fluorescent Lipid Analogs in Membranes Probed by Molecular Dynamics-Assisted Analysis of Förster Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET) and Fluorescence Quenching
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2012, 13(11), 14545-14564; doi:10.3390/ijms131114545
Received: 20 September 2012 / Revised: 29 October 2012 / Accepted: 1 November 2012 / Published: 8 November 2012
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (427 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) is a powerful tool used for many problems in membrane biophysics, including characterization of the lateral distribution of lipid components and other species of interest. However, quantitative analysis of FRET data with a topological model requires adequate [...] Read more.
Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) is a powerful tool used for many problems in membrane biophysics, including characterization of the lateral distribution of lipid components and other species of interest. However, quantitative analysis of FRET data with a topological model requires adequate choices for the values of several input parameters, some of which are difficult to obtain experimentally in an independent manner. For this purpose, atomistic molecular dynamics (MD) simulations can be potentially useful as they provide direct detailed information on transverse probe localization, relative probe orientation, and membrane surface area, all of which are required for analysis of FRET data. This is illustrated here for the FRET pairs involving 1,6-diphenylhexatriene (DPH) as donor and either 1-palmitoyl,2-(6-[N-(7-nitrobenz-2-oxa-1,3-diazol-4-yl)amino] hexanoyl)- sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (C6-NBD-PC) or 1-palmitoyl,2-(12-[N-(7-nitrobenz-2-oxa-1,3-diazol-4-yl)amino]dodecanoyl)-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (C12-NBD-PC) as acceptors, in fluid vesicles of 1,2-dipalmitoyl-sn-3-glycerophosphocholine (DPPC, 50 °C). Incorporation of results from MD simulations improves the statistical quality of model fitting to the experimental FRET data. Furthermore, the decay of DPH in the presence of moderate amounts of C12-NBD-PC (>0.4 mol%) is consistent with non-random lateral distribution of the latter, at variance with C6-NBD-PC, for which aggregation is ruled out up to 2.5 mol% concentration. These conclusions are supported by analysis of NBD-PC fluorescence self-quenching. Implications regarding the relative utility of these probes in membrane studies are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Förster Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET))
Open AccessArticle Proposal of a New Method for Measuring Förster Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET) Rapidly, Quantitatively and Non-Destructively
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2012, 13(10), 12367-12382; doi:10.3390/ijms131012367
Received: 30 July 2012 / Revised: 11 September 2012 / Accepted: 17 September 2012 / Published: 26 September 2012
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Abstract
The process of radiationless energy transfer from a chromophore in an excited electronic state (the “donor”) to another chromophore (an “acceptor”), in which the energy released by the donor effects an electronic transition, is known as “Förster Resonance Energy Transfer” (FRET). The [...] Read more.
The process of radiationless energy transfer from a chromophore in an excited electronic state (the “donor”) to another chromophore (an “acceptor”), in which the energy released by the donor effects an electronic transition, is known as “Förster Resonance Energy Transfer” (FRET). The rate of energy transfer is dependent on the sixth power of the distance between donor and acceptor. Determining FRET efficiencies is tantamount to measuring distances between molecules. A new method is proposed for determining FRET efficiencies rapidly, quantitatively, and non-destructively on ensembles containing donor acceptor pairs: at wavelengths suitable for mutually exclusive excitations of donors and acceptors, two laser beams are intensity-modulated in rectangular patterns at duty cycle ½ and frequencies ƒ1 and ƒ2 by electro-optic modulators. In an ensemble exposed to these laser beams, the donor excitation is modulated at ƒ1, and the acceptor excitation, and therefore the degree of saturation of the excited electronic state of the acceptors, is modulated at ƒ2. Since the ensemble contains donor acceptor pairs engaged in FRET, the released donor fluorescence is modulated not only at ƒ1 but also at the beat frequency Δƒ: = |ƒ1 − ƒ2|. The depth of the latter modulation, detectable via a lock-in amplifier, quantitatively indicates the FRET efficiency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Förster Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET))
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Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview Organic Solar Cells: Understanding the Role of Förster Resonance Energy Transfer
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2012, 13(12), 17019-17047; doi:10.3390/ijms131217019
Received: 7 October 2012 / Revised: 3 December 2012 / Accepted: 5 December 2012 / Published: 12 December 2012
Cited by 32 | PDF Full-text (1072 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Organic solar cells have the potential to become a low-cost sustainable energy source. Understanding the photoconversion mechanism is key to the design of efficient organic solar cells. In this review, we discuss the processes involved in the photo-electron conversion mechanism, which may [...] Read more.
Organic solar cells have the potential to become a low-cost sustainable energy source. Understanding the photoconversion mechanism is key to the design of efficient organic solar cells. In this review, we discuss the processes involved in the photo-electron conversion mechanism, which may be subdivided into exciton harvesting, exciton transport, exciton dissociation, charge transport and extraction stages. In particular, we focus on the role of energy transfer as described by F¨orster resonance energy transfer (FRET) theory in the photoconversion mechanism. FRET plays a major role in exciton transport, harvesting and dissociation. The spectral absorption range of organic solar cells may be extended using sensitizers that efficiently transfer absorbed energy to the photoactive materials. The limitations of F¨orster theory to accurately calculate energy transfer rates are discussed. Energy transfer is the first step of an efficient two-step exciton dissociation process and may also be used to preferentially transport excitons to the heterointerface, where efficient exciton dissociation may occur. However, FRET also competes with charge transfer at the heterointerface turning it in a potential loss mechanism. An energy cascade comprising both energy transfer and charge transfer may aid in separating charges and is briefly discussed. Considering the extent to which the photo-electron conversion efficiency is governed by energy transfer, optimisation of this process offers the prospect of improved organic photovoltaic performance and thus aids in realising the potential of organic solar cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Förster Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET))
Open AccessReview Recent Advances in Nanoparticle-Based Förster Resonance Energy Transfer for Biosensing, Molecular Imaging and Drug Release Profiling
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2012, 13(12), 16598-16623; doi:10.3390/ijms131216598
Received: 11 October 2012 / Revised: 15 November 2012 / Accepted: 16 November 2012 / Published: 5 December 2012
Cited by 33 | PDF Full-text (1637 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) may be regarded as a “smart” technology in the design of fluorescence probes for biological sensing and imaging. Recently, a variety of nanoparticles that include quantum dots, gold nanoparticles, polymer, mesoporous silica nanoparticles and upconversion nanoparticles have [...] Read more.
Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) may be regarded as a “smart” technology in the design of fluorescence probes for biological sensing and imaging. Recently, a variety of nanoparticles that include quantum dots, gold nanoparticles, polymer, mesoporous silica nanoparticles and upconversion nanoparticles have been employed to modulate FRET. Researchers have developed a number of “visible” and “activatable” FRET probes sensitive to specific changes in the biological environment that are especially attractive from the biomedical point of view. This article reviews recent progress in bringing these nanoparticle-modulated energy transfer schemes to fruition for applications in biosensing, molecular imaging and drug delivery. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Förster Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET))
Open AccessReview Förster Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET) as a Tool for Dissecting the Molecular Mechanisms for Maturation of the Shigella Type III Secretion Needle Tip Complex
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2012, 13(11), 15137-15161; doi:10.3390/ijms131115137
Received: 11 October 2012 / Revised: 2 November 2012 / Accepted: 12 November 2012 / Published: 16 November 2012
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (869 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) provides a powerful tool for monitoring intermolecular interactions and a sensitive technique for studying Å-level protein conformational changes. One system that has particularly benefited from the sensitivity and diversity of FRET measurements is the maturation of the [...] Read more.
Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) provides a powerful tool for monitoring intermolecular interactions and a sensitive technique for studying Å-level protein conformational changes. One system that has particularly benefited from the sensitivity and diversity of FRET measurements is the maturation of the Shigella type III secretion apparatus (T3SA) needle tip complex. The Shigella T3SA delivers effector proteins into intestinal cells to promote bacterial invasion and spread. The T3SA is comprised of a basal body that spans the bacterial envelope and a needle with an exposed tip complex that matures in response to environmental stimuli. FRET measurements demonstrated bile salt binding by the nascent needle tip protein IpaD and also mapped resulting structural changes which led to the recruitment of the translocator IpaB. At the needle tip IpaB acts as a sensor for host cell contact but prior to secretion, it is stored as a heterodimeric complex with the chaperone IpgC. FRET analyses showed that chaperone binding to IpaB’s N-terminal domain causes a conformational change in the latter. These FRET analyses, with other biophysical methods, have been central to understanding T3SA maturation and will be highlighted, focusing on the details of the FRET measurements and the relevance to this particular system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Förster Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET))
Open AccessReview Probing Nucleic Acid Interactions and Pre-mRNA Splicing by Förster Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET) Microscopy
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2012, 13(11), 14929-14945; doi:10.3390/ijms131114929
Received: 21 September 2012 / Revised: 31 October 2012 / Accepted: 31 October 2012 / Published: 14 November 2012
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (756 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) microscopy is a powerful technique routinely used to monitor interactions between biomolecules. Here, we focus on the techniques that are used for investigating the structure and interactions of nucleic acids (NAs). We present a brief overview of [...] Read more.
Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) microscopy is a powerful technique routinely used to monitor interactions between biomolecules. Here, we focus on the techniques that are used for investigating the structure and interactions of nucleic acids (NAs). We present a brief overview of the most commonly used FRET microscopy techniques, their advantages and drawbacks. We list experimental approaches recently used for either in vitro or in vivo studies. Next, we summarize how FRET contributed to the understanding of pre-mRNA splicing and spliceosome assembly. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Förster Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET))
Open AccessReview Monitoring Biosensor Activity in Living Cells with Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging Microscopy
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2012, 13(11), 14385-14400; doi:10.3390/ijms131114385
Received: 29 September 2012 / Revised: 27 October 2012 / Accepted: 1 November 2012 / Published: 7 November 2012
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (1689 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Live-cell microscopy is now routinely used to monitor the activities of the genetically encoded biosensor proteins that are designed to directly measure specific cell signaling events inside cells, tissues, or organisms. Most fluorescent biosensor proteins rely on Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) [...] Read more.
Live-cell microscopy is now routinely used to monitor the activities of the genetically encoded biosensor proteins that are designed to directly measure specific cell signaling events inside cells, tissues, or organisms. Most fluorescent biosensor proteins rely on Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) to report conformational changes in the protein that occur in response to signaling events, and this is commonly measured with intensity-based ratiometric imaging methods. An alternative method for monitoring the activities of the FRET-based biosensor proteins is fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM). FLIM measurements are made in the time domain, and are not affected by factors that commonly limit intensity measurements. In this review, we describe the use of the digital frequency domain (FD) FLIM method for the analysis of FRET signals. We illustrate the methods necessary for the calibration of the FD FLIM system, and demonstrate the analysis of data obtained from cells expressing “FRET standard” fusion proteins. We then use the FLIM-FRET approach to monitor the changes in activities of two different biosensor proteins in specific regions of single living cells. Importantly, the factors required for the accurate determination and reproducibility of lifetime measurements are described in detail. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Förster Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET))
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Open AccessReview Förster Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET) Correlates of Altered Subunit Stoichiometry in Cys-Loop Receptors, Exemplified by Nicotinic α4β2
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2012, 13(8), 10022-10040; doi:10.3390/ijms130810022
Received: 30 May 2012 / Revised: 2 July 2012 / Accepted: 5 July 2012 / Published: 10 August 2012
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (420 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
We provide a theory for employing Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) measurements to determine altered heteropentameric ion channel stoichiometries in intracellular compartments of living cells. We simulate FRET within nicotinic receptors (nAChRs) whose α4 and β2 subunits contain acceptor and donor fluorescent [...] Read more.
We provide a theory for employing Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) measurements to determine altered heteropentameric ion channel stoichiometries in intracellular compartments of living cells. We simulate FRET within nicotinic receptors (nAChRs) whose α4 and β2 subunits contain acceptor and donor fluorescent protein moieties, respectively, within the cytoplasmic loops. We predict FRET and normalized FRET (NFRET) for the two predominant stoichiometries, (α4)3(β2)2 vs. (α4)2(β2)3. Studying the ratio between FRET or NFRET for the two stoichiometries, minimizes distortions due to various photophysical uncertainties. Within a range of assumptions concerning the distance between fluorophores, deviations from plane pentameric geometry, and other asymmetries, the predicted FRET and NFRET for (α4)3(β2)2 exceeds that of (α4)2(β2)3. The simulations account for published data on transfected Neuro2a cells in which α4β2 stoichiometries were manipulated by varying fluorescent subunit cDNA ratios: NFRET decreased monotonically from (α4)3(β2)2 stoichiometry to mostly (α4)2(β2)3. The simulations also account for previous macroscopic and single-channel observations that pharmacological chaperoning by nicotine and cytisine increase the (α4)2(β2)3 and (α4)3(β2)2 populations, respectively. We also analyze sources of variability. NFRET-based monitoring of changes in subunit stoichiometry can contribute usefully to studies on Cys-loop receptors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Förster Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET))
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