Pre-print: Probing DNA – transcription factor interactions using single-molecule fluorescence detection in nanofluidic devices

M. Fontana, Š. Ivanovaite , S. Lindhoud, W. van den Berg, D. Weijers, and J. Hohlbein, bioRxiv, 2021, [link]

Single-molecule fluorescence detection offers powerful ways to study biomolecules and their complex interactions. Here, we combine nanofluidic devices and camera-based, single-molecule Förster resonance energy transfer (smFRET) detection to study the interactions between plant transcription factors of the auxin response family (ARF) and DNA oligonucleotides that contain target DNA response elements. In particular, we show that the binding of the unlabelled ARF DNA binding domain (ARF-DBD) to donor and acceptor labelled DNA oligonucleotides can be detected by changes in the FRET efficiency and changes in the diffusion coefficient of the DNA. In addition, our data on fluorescently labelled ARF-DBDs suggest that, at nanomolar concentrations, ARF-DBDs are exclusively present as monomers. In general, the fluidic framework of freely diffusing molecules minimizes potential surface-induced artifacts, enables high-throughput measurements and proved to be instrumental in shedding more light on the interactions between ARF-DBDs monomers and between ARF-DBDs and their DNA response element.