Scientists can use optical tweezers to trap beads, as depicted at the right, and catch a biomolecule, such as DNA, in between. This biomolecule can then be manipulated by moving the beads, while the force and extension are measured. Fluorescently labeled proteins can be visualized with confocal or STED fluorescence microscopy. The combination of optical tweezers with simultaneous multicolor fluorescence measurements allows correlating the mechanical properties of the DNA with the protein activity. With optical tweezers – fluorescence microscopy you can:
- Controllably manipulate, measure and visualize DNA and RNA structures to study their structural properties and force-induced structural transitions
- Measure conformational changes of DNA/RNA molecules and get insights into spontaneous- and transient-occurring phenomena, such as DNA breathing
- Visualize and measure interactions between nucleic acids in real-time 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 the effect of small molecules and biologics on DNA or RNA mechanics.