Scientists can use optical tweezers to trap beads and catch a filament with motor proteins bound to it in-between. This filament can then be manipulated by moving the beads, while the force and extension are measured. Combining optical tweezers with simultaneous fluorescence measurements allows visualizing the binding location of fluorescently-tagged motors along the filaments. With optical tweezers – fluorescence microscopy you can:
- Visualize and measure molecular motion with unprecedented resolution: determine the activity, velocity, binding kinetics, frequency, and run length of both non-processive and processive motors.
- Study motor activity and (un)binding with zero perturbation and perform mechanochemical studies under controlled external loads with sub-nanometer resolution and sub-picoNewton force sensitivity.
- Investigate discrete steps and the subsequent mechanics of motor proteins at the single-molecule level
- Perform experiments under biologically relevant conditions and highly crowded environments and link the in vitro experiment with the in vivo situation
- Study motor motion at different ATP, salt, small molecule and biologics concentrations within a single experiment