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Printed FRET pairs

After reading the headline you may be asking why someone would want to print FRET pairs. After all, FRET is typically used to study dynamic protein interactions. Biological applications are indeed what FRET is known for, however scientists are beginning to see that fluorescent proteins might be useful in fabricated devices such as those used for high-density optical memory and switches. If so, FRET could be a useful way to add functionality to devices making use of fluorescent proteins.

To study this possibility, Vinod Subramaniam and colleagues at the University of Twente in The Netherlands printed 2-D and 3-D patterns of fluorescent protein FRET donor/acceptor pairs. The work is detailed in a recent Langmuir research paper.

By examining the spectra and lifetime of the fluorescent proteins using wide-field fluorescence and confocal microscopy the researchers found that FRET occurred at the interfaces between the donor and acceptor molecules. The researchers point out that fluorescent lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM) is useful to in making sure the function of the patterned fluorescent proteins is not compromised.

In the future, patterning of FRET pairs could be combined with nanopatterning technology to produce nanoscale devices.



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