Single molecule force spectroscopy in biology using the atomic force microscope

Jordanka Zlatanova, Stuart Lindsay, Sanford H. Leuba

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

344 Scopus citations


The importance of forces in biology has been recognized for quite a while but only in the past decade have we acquired instrumentation and methodology to directly measure interactive forces at the level of single biological macromolecules and/or their complexes. This review focuses on force measurements performed with the atomic force microscope. A general introduction to the principle of action is followed by review of the types of interactions being studied, describing the main results and discussing the biological implications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-61
Number of pages25
JournalProgress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 2000


  • Atomic force microscopy
  • DNA stretching
  • Intermolecular interactions
  • Intramolecular interactions
  • Protein unfolding
  • Single molecule force Spectroscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Molecular Biology


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