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Developing a new biophysical tool to combine magneto-optical tweezers with super-resolution fluorescence microscopy

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Adam WollmanORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2015 by the authors. We present a novel experimental setup in which magnetic and optical tweezers are combined for torque and force transduction onto single filamentous molecules in a transverse configuration to allow simultaneous mechanical measurement and manipulation. Previously we have developed a super-resolution imaging module which, in conjunction with advanced imaging techniques such as Blinking assisted Localisation Microscopy (BaLM), achieves localisation precision of single fluorescent dye molecules bound to DNA of ~30 nm along the contour of the molecule; our work here describes developments in producing a system which combines tweezing and super-resolution fluorescence imaging. The instrument also features an acousto-optic deflector that temporally divides the laser beam to form multiple traps for high throughput statistics collection. Our motivation for developing the new tool is to enable direct observation of detailed molecular topological transformation and protein binding event localisation in a stretching/twisting mechanical assay that previously could hitherto only be deduced indirectly from the end-to-end length variation of DNA. Our approach is simple and robust enough for reproduction in the lab without the requirement of precise hardware engineering, yet is capable of unveiling the elastic and dynamic properties of filamentous molecules that have been hidden using traditional tools.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Zhou Z, Miller H, Wollman AJM, Leake MC

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Photonics

Year: 2015

Volume: 2

Issue: 3

Pages: 758-772

Online publication date: 26/06/2015

Acceptance date: 18/06/2015

Date deposited: 10/02/2020

ISSN (electronic): 2304-6732

Publisher: MDPI AG


DOI: 10.3390/photonics2030758


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