Single-molecule analysis of RNA polymerase transcription

Annu Rev Biophys Biomol Struct. 2006;35:343-60. doi: 10.1146/annurev.biophys.35.010406.150153.


The kinetics and mechanisms of transcription are now being investigated by a repertoire of single-molecule techniques, including optical and magnetic tweezers, high-sensitivity fluorescence techniques, and atomic force microscopy. Single-molecule techniques complement traditional biochemical and crystallographic approaches, are capable of detecting the motions and dynamics of individual RNAP molecules and transcription complexes in real time, and make it possible to directly measure RNAP binding to and unwinding of template DNA, as well as RNAP translocation along the DNA during transcript synthesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • DNA / chemistry*
  • DNA / physiology*
  • DNA-Directed RNA Polymerases / chemistry*
  • DNA-Directed RNA Polymerases / metabolism*
  • Models, Biological
  • Models, Chemical
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Biology / methods
  • RNA / chemistry*
  • RNA / physiology*
  • Transcription, Genetic / physiology*
  • Transcriptional Activation / physiology


  • RNA
  • DNA
  • DNA-Directed RNA Polymerases