Single-molecule approaches to characterizing kinetics of biomolecular interactions
Single-molecule fluorescence techniques have emerged as powerful tools to study biological processes at the molecular level. This review describes the application of these methods to the characterization of the kinetics of interaction between biomolecules. A large number of single-molecule assays have been developed that visualize association and dissociation kinetics in vitro by fluorescently labeling binding partners and observing their interactions over time. Even though recent progress has been significant, there are certain limitations to this approach. To allow the observation of individual, fluorescently labeled molecules requires low, nanomolar concentrations. I will discuss how such concentration requirements in single-molecule experiments limit their applicability to investigate intermolecular interactions and how recent technical advances deal with this issue.
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