Single-molecule studies using magnetic traps.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Cold Spring Harbor protocols, Volume 2012, Issue 1, p.34-49 (2012)




DNA; ELASTICITY; Magnetics; Microspheres; Protein Binding


In recent years, techniques have been developed to study and manipulate single molecules of DNA and other biopolymers. In one such technique, the magnetic trap, a single DNA molecule is bound at one end to a glass surface and at the other to a magnetic microbead. Small magnets, whose position and rotation can be controlled, pull on and rotate the microbead. This provides a simple method to stretch and twist the molecule. The system allows one to apply and measure forces ranging from 10(-3) to >100 pN. In contrast to other techniques, the force measurement is absolute and does not require calibration of the sensor. In this article, we describe the principle of the magnetic trap, as well as its use in the measurement of the elastic properties of DNA and the study of DNA-protein interactions.

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