In situ temperature monitoring in single-molecule FRET experiments.

Research paper by Andreas A Hartmann, Frederic F Berndt, Simon S Ollmann, Georg G Krainer, Michael M Schlierf

Indexed on: 02 Apr '18Published on: 02 Apr '18Published in: The Journal of chemical physics


Thermodynamic properties of single molecules including enthalpic and entropic contributions are often determined from experiments by a direct control and precise measurement of the local temperature. However, common temperature monitoring techniques using, for example, ultrafine temperature probes can lead to uncertainties as the probe cannot be placed in the vicinity of the molecule of interest. Here, we devised an approach to measure the local temperature in freely diffusing confocal single-molecule Förster Resonance Energy Transfer (smFRET) experiments in situ by directly adding the temperature-sensitive fluorescent dye Rhodamine B, whose fluorescence lifetime serves as a probe of the local temperature in the confocal volume. We demonstrate that the temperature and FRET efficiencies of static and dynamic molecules can be extracted within one measurement simultaneously, without the need of a reference chamber. We anticipate this technique to be particularly useful in the physicochemical analyses of temperature-dependent biomolecular processes from single-molecule measurements.