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Q Rev Biophys. 2007 Feb;40(1):87-111. Epub 2007 Jul 31.

Single-molecule fluorescence to study molecular motors.

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Department of Chemistry, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL, USA.


Molecular motors, which use energy from ATP hydrolysis to take nanometer-scale steps with run-lengths on the order of micrometers, have important roles in areas such as transport and mitosis in living organisms. New techniques have recently been developed to measure these small movements at the single-molecule level. In particular, fluorescence imaging has contributed to the accurate measurement of this tiny movement. We introduce three single-molecule fluorescence imaging techniques which can find the position of a fluorophore with accuracy in the range of a few nanometers. These techniques are named after Hollywood animation characters: Fluorescence Imaging with One Nanometer Accuracy (FIONA), Single-molecule High-REsolution Colocalization (SHREC), and Defocused Orientation and Position Imaging (DOPI). We explain new understanding of molecular motors obtained from measurements using these techniques.

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