Nonfluorescent quenchers to correlate single-molecule conformational and compositional dynamics

Jin Chen, Albert Tsai, Alexey Petrov, Joseph D. Puglisi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Single-molecule Förster resonance energy transfer (smFRET) is a powerful method for studying the conformational dynamics of a biomolecule in real-time. However, studying how interacting ligands correlate with and regulate the conformational dynamics of the biomolecule is extremely challenging because of the availability of a limited number of fluorescent dyes with both high quantum yield and minimal spectral overlap. Here we report the use of a nonfluorescent quencher (Black Hole Quencher, BHQ) as an acceptor for smFRET. Using a Cy3/BHQ pair, we can accurately follow conformational changes of the ribosome during elongation in real time. We demonstrate the application of single-color FRET to correlate the conformational dynamics of the ribosome with the compositional dynamics of tRNA. We use the normal Cy5 FRET acceptor to observe arrival of a fluorescently labeled tRNA with a concomitant transition of the ribosome from the locked to the unlocked conformation. Our results illustrate the potential of nonfluorescent quenchers in single-molecule correlation studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5734-5737
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number13
StatePublished - Apr 4 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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