Universiteit Leiden

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Joan van der Waals colloquium

Friday 6 March 2020
Drinks afterwards.
Niels Bohrweg 2
2333 CA Leiden
De Sitterzaal

Mass photometry: weighing molecules with light

Interactions between biomolecules control the processes of life in health, and their malfunction in disease, making their characterization and quantification essential to our understanding of the underlying molecular mechanisms. I will introduce mass photometry, the accurate mass measurement of individual molecules in solution by light scattering, as a general approach for studying biomolecular structure, function, and regulation. I will illustrate the reach of mass photometry by demonstrating its applicability to both nucleic acids and membrane proteins in addition to lipids, sugars and polypeptides, thereby covering the majority of biomolecules. Combination of this broad applicability with the ability to accurately determine the relative amounts of species in complex mixtures without the need for labels or other sample modifications results in a universal method to study interaction stoichiometries, energetics and kinetics. Taken together, these results establish mass photometry as an extremely powerful, solution-based, label-free, yet single molecule method to quantify and thereby study biomolecular interactions. In combination with future improvements in both technical capabilities and assays, mass photometry could realise the dream of revealing biomolecular mechanisms directly at the molecular level.

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