Single-molecule spectroscopy has revolutionized molecular biophysics and provided means to probe how structural moieties within biomolecules spatially reorganize at different timescales. There are several single-molecule methodologies that probe local structural dynamics in the vicinity of a single dye-labeled residue, which rely on fluorescence lifetimes as readout. Nevertheless, an analytical framework to quantify dynamics in such single-molecule single dye fluorescence bursts, at timescales of microseconds to milliseconds, has not yet been demonstrated. Here, we suggest an analytical framework for identifying and quantifying within-burst lifetime-based dynamics, such as conformational dynamics recorded in single-molecule photo-isomerization-related fluorescence enhancement. After testing the capabilities of the analysis on simulations, we proceed to exhibit within-burst millisecond local structural dynamics in the unbound α-synuclein monomer. The analytical framework provided in this work paves the way for extracting a full picture of the energy landscape for the coordinate probed by fluorescence lifetime-based single-molecule measurements.
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