In recent years, the single-molecule imaging technique has proven to be a valuable tool in solving many basic problems in biophysics. The technique used to measure single-molecule functions was initially developed to study electrophysiological properties of channel proteins. However, the technology to visualize single channels at work has not received as much attention. In this study, we have for the first time, simultaneously measured the optical and electrical properties of single-channel proteins. The large conductance calcium-activated potassium channel (BK-channel) labeled with fluorescent dye molecules was incorporated into a planar bilayer membrane and the fluorescent image captured with a total internal reflection fluorescence microscope simultaneously with single-channel current recording. This innovative technology will greatly advance the study of channel proteins as well as signal transduction processes that involve ion permeation processes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas