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Rep Prog Phys. 2013 Jan;76(1):016601. doi: 10.1088/0034-4885/76/1/016601. Epub 2012 Dec 18.

Single-molecule nanometry for biological physics.

Author information

1
Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Urbana, IL 61801, USA.

Abstract

Precision measurement is a hallmark of physics but the small length scale (∼nanometer) of elementary biological components and thermal fluctuations surrounding them challenge our ability to visualize their action. Here, we highlight the recent developments in single-molecule nanometry where the position of a single fluorescent molecule can be determined with nanometer precision, reaching the limit imposed by the shot noise, and the relative motion between two molecules can be determined with ∼0.3 nm precision at ∼1 ms time resolution, as well as how these new tools are providing fundamental insights into how motor proteins move on cellular highways. We will also discuss how interactions between three and four fluorescent molecules can be used to measure three and six coordinates, respectively, allowing us to correlate the movements of multiple components. Finally, we will discuss recent progress in combining angstrom-precision optical tweezers with single-molecule fluorescent detection, opening new windows for multi-dimensional single-molecule nanometry for biological physics.

PMID:
23249673
PMCID:
PMC3549428
DOI:
10.1088/0034-4885/76/1/016601
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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