Preparation of DNA and nucleoprotein samples for AFM imaging

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75 Scopus citations


Sample preparation techniques allowing reliable and reproducible imaging of DNA with various structures, topologies and complexes with proteins are reviewed. The major emphasis is given to methods utilizing chemical functionalization of mica, enabling preparation of the surfaces with required characteristics. The methods are illustrated by examples of imaging of different DNA structures. Special attention is given to the possibility of AFM to image the dynamics of DNA at the nanoscale. The capabilities of time-lapse AFM in aqueous solutions are illustrated by imaging of dynamic processes as transitions of local alternative structures (transition of DNA between H and B forms). The application of AFM to studies of protein-DNA complexes is illustrated by a few examples of imaging site-specific complexes, as well as such systems as chromatin. The time-lapse AFM studies of protein-DNA complexes including very recent advances with the use of high-speed AFM are reviewed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)196-206
Number of pages11
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2011


  • AFM
  • Alternative DNA structures
  • DNA
  • DNA supercoiling
  • Protein-DNA complexes
  • Silanes
  • Single molecule imaging
  • Surface functionalization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • General Materials Science
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Cell Biology


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