Monitoring biomolecules in single-particle tracking experiments is typically achieved by employing fixed organic dyes or fluorescent fusion proteins linked to a target of interest. However, photobleaching typically limits observation times to merely a few seconds, restricting downstream statistical analysis and observation of rare biological events. Here, we overcome this inherent limitation via continuous fluorophore exchange using DNA-PAINT, where fluorescently-labeled oligonucleotides reversibly bind to a single-stranded DNA handle attached to the target molecule. Such versatile and facile labeling allows uninterrupted monitoring of single molecules for extended durations. We demonstrate the power of our approach by observing DNA origami on membranes for tens of minutes, providing perspectives for investigating cellular processes on physiologically relevant timescales. The length of single-particle tracking experiments are limited due to photobleaching. Here the authors achieve long-term single-particle tracking with continuous fluorophore exchange in DNA-PAINT and use this to observe DNA origami on lipid bilayers for tens of minutes. Keywords

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Springer Science
European Research Council (ERC)
Nature Commun.
Physics of Cellular Interactions

Stehr, F., Stein, J., Bauer, J., Niederauer, C., Jungmann, R., Ganzinger, K., & Schwille, P. (2021). Tracking single particles for hours via continuous DNA-mediated fluorophore exchange. Nature Commun., 12(1), 4432: 1–8. doi:10.1038/s41467-021-24223-4