Indexed on: 21 Jul '07Published on: 21 Jul '07Published in: Journal of Fluorescence
This review provides an account of single-molecule fluorescence methodologies for freely diffusing molecules applied to a diverse array of biological problems pertaining to biomolecular folding and assembly. We describe the principles of confocal fluorescence microscopy to detect and analyze fluorescence bursts from diffusing single molecules. These methods including single-molecule fluorescence resonance energy transfer, coincidence, correlations and polarization offer a powerful means to uncover hidden information about conformational sub-populations and interconversion dynamics of biomolecular systems in a wide range of timescales. We offer several key examples to illustrate how these methodologies have been extremely useful in teasing out structural and dynamical aspects of many important biomolecular systems.