Determination of molecular stoichiometry without reference samples by analyzing fluorescence blinking with and without excitation synchronization

Heike Hevekerl, Jerker Widengren
2015 Methods and Applications in Fluorescence  
Stoichiometry of molecular complexes plays a crucial role in biology. Moreover, for quantitative fluorescence studies, it is often useful to know the number of fluorophores labeled onto the molecules studied. In this work, we propose an approach to determine the number of independent fluorescence emitters on fluorescent molecules based on fluorescence blinking caused by photo-induced triplet state formation, photo-isomerization or charge transfer. The fluorescence blinking is measured under two
more » ... different excitation regimes, on the 2 same setup, and in one and the same sample. By comparing the fluorescence fluctuations under continuous excitation using Fluorescence Correlation Spectroscopy (FCS), when all the fluorophores are blinking independently of each other, with those occurring under squarepulsed excitation using Transient State (TRAST) spectroscopy, when all fluorophores are blinking in a synchronized manner, the number of fluorophores per molecule can be determined. No calibration sample is needed and the approach is independent of experimental conditions and of the specific environment of the molecules under study. The approach was experimentally validated by labeling double stranded DNA (dsDNA) with different concentrations of the intercalating dye YOYO-1 Iodide. The sample was then measured consecutively by TRAST and FCS and the number of fluorophores per molecule was calculated. The determined numbers were found to agree well with the number of fluorophores per dsDNA, as determined from FCS measurements using additional calibration samples.
doi:10.1088/2050-6120/3/2/025001 pmid:29148486 fatcat:3wqreu653nhyzdi6b3pm5rpskm