Genes are expressed to proteins for a wide variety of fundamental biological processes at the cellular and organismal levels. However, a protein rarely functions alone, but rather acts through interactions with other proteins to maintain normal cellular and organismal functions. Therefore, it is important to analyze the protein–protein interactions to determine functional mechanisms of proteins, which can also guide to develop therapeutic targets for treatment of diseases caused by altered protein–protein interactions leading to cellular/organismal dysfunctions. There is a large number of methodologies to study protein interactions in vitro, in vivo and in silico, which led to the development of many protein interaction databases, and thus, have enriched our knowledge about protein–protein interactions and functions. However, many of these interactions were identified in vitro, but need to be verified/validated in living cells. Furthermore, it is unclear whether these interactions are direct or mediated via other proteins. Moreover, these interactions are representative of cell- and time-average, but not a single cell in real time. Therefore, it is crucial to detect direct protein–protein interactions in a single cell during biological processes in vivo, towards understanding the functional mechanisms of proteins in living cells. Importantly, a fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET)-based methodology has emerged as a powerful technique to decipher direct protein–protein interactions at a single cell resolution in living cells, which is briefly described in a limited available space in this mini-review.

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