Single-Molecule Fluorescence Detection of a Synthetic Heparan Sulfate Disaccharide

Charlotte E. Dalton, Steven D. Quinn, Aidan Rafferty, Michael J Morten, John M Gardiner, Steven W. Magennis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The first single-molecule fluorescence detection of a structurally-defined synthetic carbohydrate is reported: a heparan sulfate (HS) disaccharide fragment labeled with Alexa488. Single molecules have been measured whilst freely diffusing in solution and controlled encapsulation in surface-tethered lipid vesicles has allowed extended observations of carbohydrate molecules down to the single-molecule level. The diverse and dynamic nature of HS–protein interactions means that new tools to investigate pure HS fragments at the molecular level would significantly enhance our understanding of HS. This work is a proof-of-principle demonstration of the feasibility of single-molecule studies of synthetic carbohydrates which offers a new approach to the study of pure glycosaminoglycan (GAG) fragments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3442-3446
Number of pages5
Issue number21
Early online date14 Sept 2016
Publication statusPublished - 4 Nov 2016

Bibliographical note

©2016 The Authors.


  • carbohydrate
  • fluorescence
  • heparan sulfate
  • single-molecule studies
  • vesicle

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