Many biological systems, including protein complexes, are natural nanostructures. To better understand these structures and to monitor them in real time, it is becoming increasingly important to develop nanometer-scale signaling markers. Single-molecule methods will play a major role in elucidating the role of all proteins and their mutual interactions in a given organism. Fluorescent semiconductor nanocrystals, known as quantum dots, have several advantages of optical and chemical features over the traditional fluorescent labels. These features make them desirable for long-term stability and simultaneous detection of multiple signals. Here, we review current approaches to developing a biological application for quantum dots.
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