Investigating supramolecular systems using Förster resonance energy transfer
Supramolecular systems have applications in areas as diverse as materials science, biochemistry, analytical chemistry, and nanomedicine. However, analyzing such systems can be challenging due to the wide range of time scales, binding strengths, distances, and concentrations at which non-covalent phenomena take place. Due to their versatility and sensitivity, Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET)-based techniques are excellently suited to meet such challenges. Here, we detail the ways in which FRET has been used to study non-covalent interactions in both synthetic and biological supramolecular systems. Among other topics, we examine methods to measure molecular forces, determine protein conformations, monitor assembly kinetics, and visualize in vivo drug release from nanoparticles. Furthermore, we highlight multiplex FRET techniques, discuss the field's limitations, and provide a perspective on new developments.