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Single molecule techniques for the study of membrane proteins


Single molecule techniques promise novel information about the properties and behavior of individual particles, thus enabling access to molecular heterogeneities in biological systems. Their recent developments to accommodate membrane studies have significantly deepened the understanding of membrane proteins. In this short review, we will describe the basics of the three most common single-molecule techniques used on membrane proteins: fluorescence correlation spectroscopy, single particle tracking, and atomic force microscopy. We will discuss the most relevant findings made during the recent years and their contribution to the membrane protein field.

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We thank J. Suckale, J. Ries, and S. Chiantia for careful reading. This work was supported by a Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship (FP6) and German DGF (SCHW716/4-1).

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Correspondence to Petra Schwille.

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García-Sáez, A.J., Schwille, P. Single molecule techniques for the study of membrane proteins. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 76, 257–266 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00253-007-1007-8

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  • Membrane protein
  • Single molecule technique
  • Atomic force microscopy
  • Fluorescence correlation spectroscopy
  • Single particle tracking
  • Single molecule microscopy