Indexed on: 25 Oct '16Published on: 16 Oct '16Published in: Methods in enzymology
Publication date: Available online 14 October 2016 Source:Methods in Enzymology Author(s): S. Hartmann, D. Weidlich, D. Klostermeier Molecular machines undergo large-scale conformational changes during their catalytic cycles that are linked to their biological functions. DNA topoisomerases are molecular machines that interconvert different DNA topoisomers and resolve torsional stress that is introduced during cellular processes that involve local DNA unwinding. DNA gyrase catalyzes the introduction of negative supercoils into DNA in an ATP-dependent reaction. During its catalytic cycle, gyrase undergoes large-scale conformational changes that drive the supercoiling reaction. These conformational changes can be followed by single-molecule Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET). Here, we use DNA gyrase from Bacillus subtilis as an illustrative example to present strategies for the investigation of conformational dynamics of multisubunit complexes. We provide a brief introduction into single-molecule FRET and confocal microscopy, with a focus on practical considerations in sample preparation and data analysis. Different strategies in the preparation of donor–acceptor-labeled molecules suitable for single-molecule FRET experiments are outlined. The insight into the mechanism of DNA supercoiling by gyrase gained from single-molecule FRET experiment is summarized. The general strategies described here can also be applied to investigate conformational changes and their link to biological function of other multisubunit molecular machines.