A single-molecule imaging technique, called protein-induced fluorescence enhancement (PIFE), has gained traction in recent years as a popular tool for observing DNA-protein interactions with nanometer precision.

Yet, according to a new KAUST study, research laboratories have not been using the technique to its fullest potential.

The PIFE assay is predicated on the idea that DNA tagged with a fluorescent dye will glow brighter when proteins are bound in the vicinity.

In many instances, this is true--which has led many scientists to adopt PIFE over other more labor-intensive techniques that rely on dual labeling of proteins and DNA.

But Samir Hamdan's graduate students Fahad Rashid, Manal Zaher and Vlad-Stefan Raducanu realized that protein binding to DNA-dye complexes could sometimes have the opposite effect as well.

Inspiration from Rashid's previous work led the team to the phenomenon they call protein-induced fluorescence quenching (PIFQ).

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