Single-Molecule Optical Tweezers Studies of Translation

  • Xiaohui QuEmail author
Part of the Biological and Medical Physics, Biomedical Engineering book series (BIOMEDICAL)


Translation, the process of ribosome-mediated protein synthesis, is a key step for gene expression regulation. Single-molecule optical tweezers technique has had great success in biophysical characterization of many important molecular interactions, but its application to the translation process remained challenging until recently. The past decade witnessed fast progress of the successful application of optical tweezers technique to various aspects of the translation process, including mRNA structure disruption during translation initiation, the peptide chain elongation kinetics, and the interactions between ribosome and nascent polypeptide. In this chapter, we will give a brief introduction of the single-molecule optical tweezers technique and a comprehensive overview of its application in translation.


Translation Ribosome Protein synthesis RNA helicase RNA-binding protein Single-molecule Optical tweezers 



Atomic force microscopy


Base pair


Confidence interval


Messenger RNA










Shine-Dalgarno sequence


Standard deviation


Untranslated region


Worm-like chain model



X. Qu was supported by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R01GM121847 and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) Functional Genomics Initiative. The content is solely the responsibility of the author and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Molecular Biology ProgramMemorial Sloan Kettering Cancer CenterNew YorkUSA

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