Scientists in Edward Lemke’s group at EMBL Heidelberg have developed a new high-throughput method to monitor individual large molecules for long periods of time. Called SWIFT, the new approach overcomes the shortcomings of available techniques, which either required the molecule to be immobilised or only allowed very short observation times. The technique, developed by PhD student Swati Tyagi and postdoc Virginia VanDelinder, was recently published in Nature Methods.
“Long observation is key to follow biological mechanisms in detail, but for large molecules it often just wasn’t possible” says Edward, “SWIFT fills that gap.”
SWIFT in action: tracking individual molecules as they move along separate channels on a microfluidics chip. Credit: EMBL/Lemke
Tyagi, S., VanDelinder, V., Banterle, N., Fuertes, G., Milles, S., Agez, M. & Lemke, E.A. Continuous throughput and long-term observation of single-molecule FRET without immobilization. Published online in Nature Methods on 19 January 2014. DOI: 10.1038/nmeth.2809.