The diffusion constant of a labeled protein sliding along DNA
Laboratoire Kastler Brossel, ENS, UPMC-Paris 6, CNRS UMR 8552, 24 rue Lhomond, 75005, Paris, France
Accepted: 11 February 2011
Published online: 11 March 2011
Long ago inferred by biochemists, the linear diffusion of proteins along DNA has recently been observed at a single-molecule level using fluorescence microscopy. This imaging technique requires labeling the protein of interest with a fluorophore, usually an organic nanosized dye that is not supposed to impact the dynamics of the protein. Yet individual proteins can also be tracked using much larger labels, like quantum dots or beads. We investigate here the impact of such a large label on the protein diffusion along DNA. Solving a Fokker-Planck equation, we estimate the diffusion constant of a protein-label complex diffusing in a periodic potential that mimics the DNA-protein interaction, the link between the protein and the label being modeled as a Hookean spring. Our results indicate that the diffusion constant can generally be calculated by considering that the motion of the protein in the DNA potential is decoupled from the Brownian motion of the label. Our conclusions are in good agreement with the experimental results we obtained with the restriction enzyme EcoRV, assuming a rotation-coupled diffusion of the enzyme along DNA.
© EDP Sciences, SIF, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, 2011