During the last two decades single-molecule manipulation techniques such as atomic force microscopy (AFM) has risen to prominence through their unique capacity to provide fundamental information on the structure and function of biomolecules. Here we describe the use of single-molecule AFM to track protein unfolding and refolding pathways, enzymatic catalysis and the effects of osmolytes and chaperones on protein stability and folding. We will outline the principles of operation for two different AFM pulling techniques: length clamp and force-clamp and discuss prominent applications. We provide protocols for the construction of polyproteins which are amenable for AFM experiments, the preparation of different coverslips, choice and calibration of AFM cantilevers. We also discuss the selection criteria for AFM recordings, the calibration of AFM cantilevers, protein sample preparations and analysis of the obtained data.
- Atomic force microscopy
- Protein folding
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)