RNA dynamics in live Escherichia coli cells

Ido Golding, Edward C. Cox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We describe a method for tracking RNA molecules in Escherichia coli that is sensitive to single copies of mRNA, and, using the method, we find that individual molecules can be followed for many hours in living cells. We observe distinct characteristic dynamics of RNA molecules, all consistent with the known life history of RNA in prokaryotes: localized motion consistent with the Brownian motion of an RNA polymer tethered to its template DNA, free diffusion, and a few examples of polymer chain dynamics that appear to be a combination of chain fluctuation and chain elongation attributable to RNA transcription. We also quantify some of the dynamics, such as width of the displacement distribution, diffusion coefficient, chain elongation rate, and distribution of molecule numbers, and compare them with known biophysical parameters of the E. coli system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11310-11315
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number31
StatePublished - Aug 3 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General
  • Genetics


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