Plasma membrane proteins have important roles in transport and signal transduction. Deciphering the spatiotemporal organization of these proteins provides crucial information for elucidating the links between the behaviors of different molecules. However, monitoring membrane proteins without disrupting their membrane environment remains difficult. Over the past decade, many studies have developed single-molecule techniques, opening avenues for probing the stoichiometry and interactions of membrane proteins in their native environment by providing nanometer-scale spatial information and nanosecond-scale temporal information. In this review, we assess recent progress in the development of labeling and imaging technology for membrane protein analysis. We focus in particular on several single-molecule techniques for quantifying the dynamics and assembly of membrane proteins. Finally, we provide examples of how these new techniques are advancing our understanding of the complex biological functions of membrane proteins.


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