3 years ago

Covalent Protein Labeling and Improved Single-Molecule Optical Properties of Aqueous CdSe/CdS Quantum Dots

Covalent Protein Labeling and Improved Single-Molecule Optical Properties of Aqueous CdSe/CdS Quantum Dots
Mark A. DeWitt, Maya A. Segal, Bruce E. Cohen, Ahmet Yildiz, Victor R. Mann, Mustafa Mir, Xavier Darzacq, Alexander S. Powers, Sara M. Wichner, Jigar N. Bandaria
Semiconductor quantum dots (QDs) have proven to be superior probes for single-molecule imaging compared to organic or genetically encoded fluorophores, but they are limited by difficulties in protein targeting, their larger size, and on–off blinking. Here, we report compact aqueous CdSe/CdS QDs with significantly improved bioconjugation efficiency and superior single-molecule optical properties. We have synthesized covalent protein labeling ligands (i.e., SNAP tags) that are optimized for nanoparticle use, and QDs functionalized with these ligands label SNAP-tagged proteins ∼10-fold more efficiently than existing SNAP ligands. Single-molecule analysis of these QDs shows 99% of time spent in the fluorescent on-state, ∼4-fold higher quantum efficiency than standard CdSe/ZnS QDs, and 350 million photons detected before photobleaching. Bright signals of these QDs enable us to track the stepping movement of a kinesin motor in vitro, and the improved labeling efficiency enables tracking of single kinesins in live cells.

Publisher URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acsnano.7b01470

DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.7b01470

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