A survey of single-molecule techniques in chemical biology

ACS Chem Biol. 2007 Jan 23;2(1):53-61. doi: 10.1021/cb600342a.


Single-molecule methods have revolutionized scientific research by rendering the investigation of once-inaccessible biological processes amenable to scientific inquiry. Several of the more established techniques will be emphasized in this Review, including single-molecule fluorescence microscopy, optical tweezers, and atomic force microscopy, which have been applied to many diverse biological processes. Serving as a taste of all the exciting research currently underway, recent examples will be discussed of translocation of RNA polymerase, myosin VI walking, protein folding, and enzyme activity. We will end by providing an assessment of what the future holds, including techniques that are currently in development.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Data Collection*
  • Humans
  • Microscopy, Atomic Force / methods
  • Microscopy, Atomic Force / trends
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence / methods
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence / standards
  • Molecular Biology / instrumentation*
  • Molecular Biology / methods*
  • Molecular Biology / trends