Our single molecule force-clamp AFM technique is now commercially available thanks to Luigs&Neumann GmbH, a world-leading manufacturer of electrophysiology instrumentation, based in Germany. In contrast to other AFMs on the market, the new Luigs&Neumann AFM is specifically built for operating in force-clamp mode. The first units have already shipped and the measurements indicate a resolution and stability superior to anything we have seen: feedback response times of less that 1 ms and positional accuracy better than 1 Å (see pictures on the right). For more information about the force clamp technique and instrument, have a look at our recently published article in Nature Protocols.
We are constantly working on implementing new attachment techniques of proteins to tethering surfaces. Tether strength and specificity are major limitations in the single molecule spectroscopy field where it is challenging to attach proteins to exactly their termini and tether them to large forces for extensive periods.We have successfully implemented in our laboratory the HaloTag technology, with incredible results, as shown in THIS MOVIE.
Our new work on oxidative folding is an effort to move beyond techniques and wade deep into novel and important biological questions. Many proteins are reinforced by disulfide bonds that are introduced by the enzyme PDI, and it has been debated whether disulfide bond formation drives protein folding or vice versa. By tracking the folding of single proteins, we found that PDI acts as a placeholder that waits for the protein folding to determine the pairing of cysteines. By allowing its substrate to decide, PDI can accurately introduce disulfides in a wide variety of proteins without the need for substrate specificity. For more information, see the article published in Cell by Pallav Kosuri et al.
Check out the 2012 Gordon Research Conference on "Single Molecule Approaches to Biology , Chaired by Julio and Stefan Hell and that serves as an interdisciplinary forum for some of the most innovative research in Biology. The conference was a resounding success. Here are some of the participant comments:
“Excellent, thought-provoking talks. Great, diverse posters. Perfect mix of students, postdocs, PI's.”
“Speakers at the forefront of their field. Excellent discussion atmosphere. Adequate time for questions/discussion! Very stimulating.”
“Great speakers. Wide range of topics”
“The pool of speakers was amazing. They were also very friendly, open to questions and willing to share ideas”
“World class science”
“The quality of the science was outstanding. I enjoyed the longer talk format and extensive discussions that followed”
“I just thought the quality of the talks and posters was phenomenal. I would like to thank all involved with this fabulous meeting.”