In recent years, the rapid development and progress of single-molecule detection techniques have opened up a new era of biological research. The advantage of single-molecule studies is that data are not obscured by the ensemble-averaged measurements inherent in classical biochemical experiments. These techniques are shedding light on the dynamic and mechanistic properties of molecular machines, both in vivo and in vitro. This review summarizes the single-molecule experiments that have been designed to investigate molecular motors, enzyme reactions, protein dynamics, DNA transcription and cell signaling.
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