Applications of fluorescence resonance energy transfer for mapping biological membranes

János Szöllosi, Péter Nagy, Zsolt Sebestyén, Sándor Damjanovich, John W. Park, László Mátyus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

39 Citations (Scopus)


The interaction of the cell surface proteins plays a key role in the process of transmembrane signaling. Receptor clustering and changes in their conformation are often essential factors in the final outcome of ligand receptor interactions. Fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) is an excellent tool for determining distance relationships and supramolecular organization of cell surface molecules. This paper reviews the theoretical background of fluorescence resonance energy transfer, its flow cytometric and microscopic applications (including the intensity based and photobleaching versions), and provides a critical evaluation of the methods as well. In order to illustrate the applicability of the method, we summarize a few biological results: clustering of lectin receptors, cell surface distribution of hematopoietic cluster of differentiation (CD) molecules, and that of the receptor tyrosine kinases, conformational changes of Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) I molecules upon membrane potential change and ligand binding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-266
Number of pages16
JournalReviews in Molecular Biotechnology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 11 2002



  • Antigen presentation
  • Cell surface receptor conformation
  • Flow cytometry
  • Fluorescence microscopy
  • Fluorescence resonance energy transfer
  • Membrane potential

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

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