Special Reviews

Single-Molecule Biomechanics with Optical Methods

Science  12 Mar 1999:
Vol. 283, Issue 5408, pp. 1689-1695
DOI: 10.1126/science.283.5408.1689

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Abstract

Single-molecule observation and manipulation have come of age. With the advent of optical tweezers and other methods for probing and imaging single molecules, investigators have circumvented the model-dependent extrapolation from ensemble assays that has been the hallmark of classical biochemistry and biophysics. In recent years, there have been important advances in the understanding of how motor proteins work. The range of these technologies has also started to expand into areas such as DNA transcription and protein folding. Here, recent experiments with rotary motors, linear motors, RNA polymerase, and titin are described.

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