Förster resonance energy transfer in liposomes: Measurements of transmembrane helix dimerization in the native bilayer environment

Min You, Edwin Li, William C. Wimley, Kalina Hristova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The lipid bilayer vesicle is a model of the cellular membrane. Even in this simple system, however, measuring the thermodynamics of membrane protein association is a challenge. Here we discuss Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) in liposomes as a method to probe the dimerization of transmembrane helices in a membrane environment. Although the measurements are labor intensive, FRET in liposomes can be measured accurately provided that attention is paid to sample homogeneity and sample equilibration. One must also take into account statistical expectations and the FRET that results from random colocalization of donors and acceptors in the bilayer. Without careful attention to these details, misleading results are easy to obtain in membrane FRET experiments. The results that we obtain in model systems are reproducible and depend solely on the concentration of the protein in the bilayer (i.e., on the protein-to-lipid ratio), thereby yielding thermodynamic parameters that are directly relevant to processes in biological membranes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)154-164
Number of pages11
JournalAnalytical biochemistry
Volume340
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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