High-throughput single-molecule studies of protein-DNA interactions.

Aaron D. Robison and Ilya J. Finkelstein, FEBS Lett. 588 (19) :3539-46 (2014).


Fluorescence and force-based single-molecule studies of protein-nucleic acid interactions continue to shed critical insights into many aspects of DNA and RNA processing. As single-molecule assays are inherently low-throughput, obtaining statistically relevant datasets remains a major challenge. Additionally, most fluorescence-based single-molecule particle-tracking assays are limited to observing fluorescent proteins that are in the low-nanomolar range, as spurious background signals predominate at higher fluorophore concentrations. These technical limitations have traditionally limited the types of questions that could be addressed via single-molecule methods. In this review, we describe new approaches for high-throughput and high-concentration single-molecule biochemical studies. We conclude with a discussion of outstanding challenges for the single-molecule biologist and how these challenges can be tackled to further approach the biochemical complexity of the cell.