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Methods Cell Biol. 2014;123:217-34. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-420138-5.00012-4.

DNA curtains: novel tools for imaging protein-nucleic acid interactions at the single-molecule level.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Columbia University, New York, USA.
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, Columbia University, New York, USA; Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Columbia University, New York, USA.


Interactions between proteins and nucleic acids are at the molecular foundations of most key biological processes, including DNA replication, genome maintenance, the regulation of gene expression, and chromosome segregation. A complete understanding of these types of biological processes requires tackling questions with a range of different techniques, such as genetics, cell biology, molecular biology, biochemistry, and structural biology. Here, we describe a novel experimental approach called "DNA curtains" that can be used to complement and extend these more traditional techniques by providing real-time information about protein-nucleic acid interactions at the level of single molecules. We describe general features of the DNA curtain technology and its application to the study of protein-nucleic acid interactions in vitro. We also discuss some future developments that will help address crucial challenges to the field of single-molecule biology.


Lipid bilayer; Nanofabrication; One-dimensional diffusion; Single molecule; Single-stranded DNA; Total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy; Translocation

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