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Search for an individual in the midst of a crowd: Tracking a single molecule

Chatterji, Dipankar (1999) Search for an individual in the midst of a crowd: Tracking a single molecule. In: Current Science, 76 (10). pp. 1295-1296.


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Many of us started science at school with test tubes, solutions, concept of moles, Avogardo number, etc. Till today we describe a reaction, be it chemical or biological, as an interaction between groups of organized molecules all behaving in a similar fashion in one group, any aberration from this organized behaviour is not allowed or not detectable at the most. Thus, when we follow a ligand-receptor interaction, we believe that all the ligands in the ensemble (roughly about $10^1^7$ molecules in a micromolar solution) have exactly the same affinity and the same rate of interaction with the receptor. In a radioactive tracer technique, used by biologists, only one single molecule on an average is labelled with a radioactive probe within a million molecules. Yet its behaviour represents the behaviour of the million. Or in other words, the concept of equilibrium thermodynamics guides the study of the interacting species.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Current Science
Publisher: Indian Academy of Science
Additional Information: Copyright for this article belongs to Indian Academy of Sciences.
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Molecular Biophysics Unit
Date Deposited: 29 Mar 2005
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2010 04:15
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/1551

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