Nat. Biotechnol. - (-) - [2022-10-10; online 2022-10-10]
The formation of macromolecular complexes can be measured by detection of changes in rotational mobility using time-resolved fluorescence anisotropy. However, this method is limited to relatively small molecules (~0.1-30 kDa), excluding the majority of the human proteome and its complexes. We describe selective time-resolved anisotropy with reversibly switchable states (STARSS), which overcomes this limitation and extends the observable mass range by more than three orders of magnitude. STARSS is based on long-lived reversible molecular transitions of switchable fluorescent proteins to resolve the relatively slow rotational diffusivity of large complexes. We used STARSS to probe the rotational mobility of several molecular complexes in cells, including chromatin, the retroviral Gag lattice and activity-regulated cytoskeleton-associated protein oligomers. Because STARSS can probe arbitrarily large structures, it is generally applicable to the entire human proteome.