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Biomolecules 2018, 8(4), 140; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom8040140

Single Molecule FRET: A Powerful Tool to Study Intrinsically Disordered Proteins

1
Department of Physics, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA
2
Department of Chemistry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA
3
Department of Medical Oncology and Therapeutics Research, City of Hope National Medical Center, Duarte, CA 91010, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 12 October 2018 / Revised: 2 November 2018 / Accepted: 6 November 2018 / Published: 8 November 2018
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Abstract

Intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) are often modeled using ideas from polymer physics that suggest they smoothly explore all corners of configuration space. Experimental verification of this random, dynamic behavior is difficult as random fluctuations of IDPs cannot be synchronized across an ensemble. Single molecule fluorescence (or Förster) resonance energy transfer (smFRET) is one of the few approaches that are sensitive to transient populations of sub-states within molecular ensembles. In some implementations, smFRET has sufficient time resolution to resolve transitions in IDP behaviors. Here we present experimental issues to consider when applying smFRET to study IDP configuration. We illustrate the power of applying smFRET to IDPs by discussing two cases in the literature of protein systems for which smFRET has successfully reported phosphorylation-induced modification (but not elimination) of the disordered properties that have been connected to impacts on the related biological function. The examples we discuss, PAGE4 and a disordered segment of the GluN2B subunit of the NMDA receptor, illustrate the great potential of smFRET to inform how IDP function can be regulated by controlling the detailed ensemble of disordered states within biological networks. View Full-Text
Keywords: single molecule biophysics; FRET; intrinsically disordered protein; IDP single molecule biophysics; FRET; intrinsically disordered protein; IDP
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LeBlanc, S.J.; Kulkarni, P.; Weninger, K.R. Single Molecule FRET: A Powerful Tool to Study Intrinsically Disordered Proteins. Biomolecules 2018, 8, 140.

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