Super-Resolved FRET Imaging by Confocal Fluorescence-Lifetime Single-Molecule Localization Microscopy

Small Methods. 2023 Jul;7(7):e2201565. doi: 10.1002/smtd.202201565. Epub 2023 May 2.


Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET)-based approaches are unique tools for sensing the immediate surroundings and interactions of (bio)molecules. FRET imaging and Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging Microscopy (FLIM) enable the visualization of the spatial distribution of molecular interactions and functional states. However, conventional FLIM and FRET imaging provide average information over an ensemble of molecules within a diffraction-limited volume, which limits the spatial information, accuracy, and dynamic range of the observed signals. Here, an approach to obtain super-resolved FRET imaging based on single-molecule localization microscopy using an early prototype of a commercial time-resolved confocal microscope is demonstrated. DNA Points Accumulation for Imaging in Nanoscale Topography with fluorogenic probes provides a suitable combination of background reduction and binding kinetics compatible with the scanning speed of usual confocal microscopes. A single laser is used to excite the donor, a broad detection band is employed to retrieve both donor and acceptor emission, and FRET events are detected from lifetime information.

Keywords: DNA origami; DNA-PAINT; FLIM; FRET; confocal microscopy; single molecule fluorescence; super-resolution microscopy.

MeSH terms

  • DNA* / chemistry
  • Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer* / methods
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence / methods
  • Single Molecule Imaging


  • DNA