Single-molecule fluorescence methods remain a challenging yet information-rich set of techniques that allow one to probethe dynamics, stoichiometry and conformation of biomolecules one molecule at a time. Viruses are small (nanometers) insize, can achieve cellular infections with a small number of virions and their lifecycle is inherently heterogeneous with alarge number of structural and functional intermediates. Single-molecule measurements that reveal the complete distributionof properties rather than the average can hence reveal new insights into virus infections and biology that are inaccessibleotherwise. This article highlights some of the methods and recent applications of single-molecule fluorescence in the field ofvirology. Here, we have focused on new findings in virus–cell interaction, virus cell entry and transport, viral membranefusion, genome release, replication, translation, assembly, genome packaging, egress and interaction with host immuneproteins that underline the advantage of single-molecule approach to the question at hand. Finally, we discuss the challenges,outlook and potential areas for improvement and future use of single-molecule fluorescence that could further aidour understanding of viruses.
Volume 44 | Issue 5
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