Single-molecule super-resolution imaging in bacteria

Curr Opin Microbiol. 2012 Dec;15(6):758-63. doi: 10.1016/j.mib.2012.10.007. Epub 2012 Nov 8.


Bacteria have evolved complex, multi-component cellular machineries to carry out fundamental cellular processes such as cell division/separation, locomotion, protein secretion, DNA transcription/replication, or conjugation/competence. Diffraction of light has so far restricted the use of conventional fluorescence microscopy to reveal the composition, internal architecture and dynamics of these important machineries. This review describes some of the more recent advances on single-molecule super-resolution microscopy methods applied to bacteria and highlights their application to chemotaxis, cell division, DNA segregation, and DNA transcription machineries. Finally, we discuss some of the lessons learned from this approach, and future perspectives.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / chemistry*
  • Bacterial Proteins / analysis*
  • Microscopy / methods*
  • Multiprotein Complexes / chemistry*


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Multiprotein Complexes