A Guide to Tracking Single Transmembrane Proteins in Supported Lipid Bilayers

  • Kumud Raj Poudel
  • Jeffrey P. Jones
  • James A. BrozikEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 974)


The purpose of this chapter is to serve as a guide for those who wish to carry out experiments tracking single transmembrane proteins in planar supported membrane biomimetics. This chapter describes, in detail, the construction of a simple single-molecule microscope, which includes (1) a parts list, (2) an alignment procedure, (3) a calibration procedure, and (4) a procedure for measuring the mechanical stability of the instrument. It also gives procedures for making planar supported POPC bilayers on hydrophilically treated borosilicate and quartz, POPC/PEG-PE cushioned bilayers on hydrophilically treated surfaces, and POPC/PEG-PE cushioned bilayers on BSA passivated substrates. The procedure for the detergent-mediated incorporation of the transmembrane protein 5HT3A (a serotonin receptor) is also described and can be used as a starting point for other large non-self-inserting transmembrane proteins. The final experimental section of this chapter details different procedures for data analysis including (1) a quantitative analysis of mean displacements from individually tracked particles, (2) a Gaussian analysis of step-size distributions, (3) the Gaussian analysis of diffusion coefficients from ensembles of transmembrane proteins, and (4) a perspective associated with the interpretation of single-particle tracking data.

Key words

Single-molecule spectroscopy Biomimetics Protein diffusion Transmembrane protein In vitro protein studies Single-molecule instrument design Single-molecule tracking 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kumud Raj Poudel
    • 1
  • Jeffrey P. Jones
    • 1
  • James A. Brozik
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of ChemistryWashington State UniversityPullmanUSA

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