Encyclopedia of Biophysics

Living Edition
| Editors: Gordon Roberts, Anthony Watts, European Biophysical Societies

Fluorescence and FRET in Membranes

  • Luís M. S. LouraEmail author
  • Manuel Prieto
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-35943-9_559-1



Fluorescence methodologies are based on emission of light from a substance in an electronically excited singlet state. Förster Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET) denotes a photophysical process upon which the excitation energy of a molecule, the donor, is transferred to another, the acceptor, without emission of light from the former or collision between the two species.


The molecular level organization and structure/function relationships in membrane systems pose challenging problems that require a variety of experimental approaches for their study. Among these, and due to its sensitivity and versatility, fluorescence came to the fore. The timescale of fluorescence (sub-ns resolution) is adequate to follow the kinetics of both fast (fluorophore rotation, conformational changes) and relatively slow (translocation, hindered diffusion) processes. Its intrinsic sensitivity is almost unrivalled and...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Klymchenko AS (2015) Using fluorescence for studies of biological membranes: a review. Methods Appl Fluoresc 3:042003CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Lakowicz JR (2006) Principles of fluorescence spectroscopy, 3rd edn. Springer, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Loura LMS, Prieto M (2013) Lateral membrane heterogeneity probed by FRET spectroscopy and microscopy. In: Mély Y, Duportail G (eds) Fluorescent methods to study biological membranes. Springer, Berlin, pp 71–113Google Scholar
  4. Santos NC, Prieto M, Castanho MARB (2003) Quantifying molecular partition into model systems of biomembranes: an emphasis on optical spectroscopic methods. Biochim Biophys Acta 1612:123–135CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Stone MB, Shelby SA, Veatch SL (2017) Super-resolution microscopy: shedding light on the cellular plasma membrane. Chem Rev 117:7457–7477CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© European Biophysical Societies' Association (EBSA) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Pharmacy and Center for Chemistry of CoimbraUniversity of CoimbraCoimbraPortugal
  2. 2.CQFM-IN and iBB- Institute for Bioengineering and BioscienceInstituto Superior Técnico, University of LisbonLisbonPortugal

Section editors and affiliations

  • John Seddon
    • 1
  1. 1.Membrane Biophysics Platform, Department of Chemistry and Institute of Chemical BiologyImperial College LondonLondonUK