Real-Time Nanometer-Scale Dynamics of Molecular Assemblies on Surfaces Visualized by In-Situ High-Speed AFM

Aleksandr Noy

09:15 - 10:00 | Tuesday 25 July 2017 | Grand Ballroom #5



Many biological processes involve complex dynamic association and dissociation of large aggregates of molecules and, more often than not, these complexes present a challenge for traditional structural studies. The development of single-molecule optical techniques allowed researchers to study a large number of these processes, however these powerful approaches still require optical label attachment and often still lack the spatial resolution to reveal the details of the processes. Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) can image biological molecules in-situ with exquisite resolution often far beyond of that of the state-of-the art optical techniques, but normally it lacks the temporal resolution to capture the dynamics of most of the biological processes. Recent development of high-speed AFM (HS-AFM) instruments, which are capable of acquiring images at near-video frame rates, has opened up a possibility to capture the dynamics of individual biomolecules at the relevant timescale. I will present our results from several systems where we show that HS-AFM can reveal the dynamics of complex protein-DNA interactions, and protein assembly and disassembly on surface templates of different geometry. I will also show that HS-AFM can record and analyze real-time dynamics of biomimetic membrane channels (carbon nanotube porins) in lipid bilayers. These results demonstrate that HS-AFM is a new and powerful addition to the modern biophysics and biomaterials toolkit.