Measuring two at the same time: combining magnetic tweezers with single-molecule FRET

Exp Suppl. 2014;105:253-76. doi: 10.1007/978-3-0348-0856-9_12.


Molecular machines are the workhorses of the cell that efficiently convert chemical energy into mechanical motion through conformational changes. They can be considered powerful machines, exerting forces and torque on the molecular level of several piconewtons and piconewton-nanometer, respectively. For studying translocation and conformational changes of these machines, fluorescence methods, like FRET, as well as "mechanical" methods, like optical and magnetic tweezers, have proven well suited over the past decades. One of the current challenges in the field of molecular machines is gaining maximal information from single-molecule experiments by simultaneously measuring translocation, conformational changes, and forces exerted by these machines. In this chapter, we describe the combination of magnetic tweezers with single-molecule FRET for orthogonal simultaneous readout to maximize the information gained in single-molecule experiments.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Animals
  • DNA / chemistry
  • DNA / metabolism*
  • Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer*
  • Fluorescent Dyes / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Magnetics*
  • Molecular Motor Proteins / chemistry
  • Molecular Motor Proteins / metabolism*
  • Molecular Probe Techniques*
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • Optical Imaging / methods*
  • Optical Tweezers*
  • Protein Conformation
  • Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Time Factors


  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Molecular Motor Proteins
  • DNA