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The physics of life: one molecule at a time

Theme Issue
‘Single molecule cellular biophysics:
combining physics, biochemistry and cell biology to study the individual molecules of life’
compiled and edited by Mark C. Leake

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Introduction Article : 

The physics of life: one molecule at a time

Abstract

The esteemed physicist Erwin Schrödinger, whose name is associated with the most notorious equation of quantum mechanics, also wrote a brief essay entitled ‘What is Life?’, asking: ‘How can the events in space and time which take place within the spatial boundary of a living organism be accounted for by physics and chemistry?’ The 60+ years following this seminal work have seen enormous developments in our understanding of biology on the molecular scale, with physics playing a key role in solving many central problems through the development and application of new physical science techniques, biophysical analysis and rigorous intellectual insight. The early days of single-molecule biophysics research was centred around molecular motors and biopolymers, largely divorced from a real physiological context. The new generation of single-molecule bioscience investigations has much greater scope, involving robust methods for understanding molecular-level details of the most fundamental biological processes in far more realistic, and technically challenging, physiological contexts, emerging into a new field of ‘single-molecule cellular biophysics’. Here, I outline how this new field has evolved, discuss the key active areas of current research and speculate on where this may all lead in the near future.

Featured image :

PCNA

collected from  http://biochem218.stanford.edu
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ResearchBlogging.org
Leake, M. (2012).
The physics of life: one molecule at a time
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 368 (1611), 20120248-20120248 DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2012.0248

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Tracing Knowledge - UNMODIFIED REPUBLISHING  Στα Ίχνη της Γνώσης - ΑΠΑΡΑΛΛΑΚΤΗ ΑΝΑΔΗΜΟΣΙΕΥΣΗ

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