Schenk, A., Ivanchenko, S., Röcker, C., Wiedenmann, J. and Nienhaus, G.U.
Photodynamics of red fluorescent proteins studied by fluorescence correlation spectroscopy
Biophysical Journal, 86, .
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Red fluorescent proteins are important tools in fluorescence-based life science research. Recently, we have introduced eqFP611, a red fluorescent protein with advantageous properties from the sea anemone Entacmaea quadricolor. Here, we have studied the submillisecond light-driven intramolecular dynamics between bright and dark states of eqFP611 and, for comparison, drFP583 (DsRed) by using fluorescence correlation spectroscopy on protein solutions. A three-state model with one dark and two fluorescent states describes the power-dependence of the flickering dynamics of both proteins at different excitation wavelengths. It involves two light-driven conformational transitions. We have also studied the photodynamics of individual (monomeric) eqFP611 molecules immobilized on surfaces. The flickering rates and dark state fractions of eqFP611 bound to polyethylene glycol-covered glass surfaces were identical to those measured in solution, showing that the bound FPs behaved identically. A second, much slower flickering process was observed on the 10-ms timescale. Deposition of eqFP611 molecules on bare glass surfaces yielded bright fluorescence without any detectable flickering and a >10-fold decreased photobleaching yield. These observations underscore the intimate connection between protein motions and photophysical processes in fluorescent proteins.
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