icon pap  Port-a-Patch publication in Biophysical Journal (2003)

Borisenko V., Lougheed L., Hesse J., Fuereder-Kitzmueller E., Fertig N., Behrends, J.C., Woolley G.A., Schuetz G.J.

Biophys. J. (2003) 84:612-622


We report here an approach for simultaneous fluorescence imaging and electrical recording of single ion channels in planar bilayer membranes. As a test case,  fluorescently labeled (Cy3 and Cy5) gramicidin derivatives were imaged at the single-molecule level using far-field illumination and cooled CCD camera detection.  Gramicidin monomers were observed to diffuse in the plane of the membrane with a diffusion coefficient of 3.3 x 10-8 cm2s-1. Simultaneous electrical recording detected gramicidin homodimer (Cy3/Cy3, Cy5/Cy5) and heterodimer (Cy3/Cy5) channels. Heterodimer formation was observed optically by the appearance of a fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) signal (irradiation of Cy3, detection of Cy5). The number of FRET signals was significantly smaller than the number of Cy3 signals (Cy3 monomers plus Cy3homodimers) as expected. The number of FRET signals increased with increasing channel activity. In numerous cases the appearance of a FRET signal was observed to correlate with a channel opening event detected electrically. The heterodimers also diffused in the plane of the membrane with a diffusion coefficient of 3.0 x 10-8 cm2s-1. These experiments demonstrate the feasibility of simultaneous optical and electrical detection of structural changes in single ion channels as well as suggesting strategies for improving the reliability of such measurements.

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