Controlling molecular properties through photoirradiation holds great promise for its potential for noninvasive and selective manipulation of matter. Photochromism has been observed for several different molecules, including green fluorescent proteins, and recently the discovery of a novel photoswitchable green fluorescent protein called Dronpa was reported. Dronpa displays reversible and highly efficient on/off photoswitching of its fluorescence emission, and reversible switching of immobilized single molecules of Dronpa with response times faster than 20 ms was demonstrated. In this Letter, we expand these observations to freely diffusing molecules by using fluorescence correlation spectroscopy with simultaneous excitation at 488 and 405 nm. By varying the intensity of irradiation at 405 nm, we demonstrate the reversible photoswitching of Dronpa under these conditions, and from the obtained autocorrelation functions we conclude that this photoswitching can occur within tens of microseconds. © 2006 by the Biophysical Society.
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