Félicitations à l’équipe Romet-Lemonne / Jégou pour ce nouvel article publié dans JoVE:
In order to decipher the complex molecular mechanisms that regulate the assembly and disassembly of actin filaments, it is a great asset to monitor individual reactions live in well-controlled conditions. To do so, live single-filament experiments have emerged over the past 20 years, mostly using total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy, and have provided a trove of key results. In 2011, in order to further expand the possibilities of these experiments and to avoid recurring problematic artifacts, we introduced simple microfluidics in these assays. This study details our basic protocol, where individual actin filaments are anchored by one end to the passivated coverslip surface, align with the flow, and can be successively exposed to different protein solutions. We also present the protocols for specific applications and explain how controlled mechanical forces can be applied, thanks to the viscous drag of the flowing solution. We highlight the technical caveats of these experiments and briefly present possible developments based on this technique. These protocols and explanations, along with today’s availability of easy-to-use microfluidics equipment, should allow non-specialists to implement this assay in their labs.