Scientists at the Braunschweig University of Technology have developed tiny adapters that allow the coupling of molecules to nanostructures and their precise positioning on the scale of a millionth of a millimeter.
This development is of relevance especially for DNA sequencing, which is considered the key technology for the analysis of inherited diseases. The latest results are presented in the current issue of the journal “Nano Letters”.
Immobilization strategy: DNA origami (grey rectangles) equipped with a fluorescent dye (red) occupy the small holes in the metal film (ZMWs) in a way that only one adapter fits per cavity.
Comparison between optimal Poisson distribution and the experimentally measured distribution in ZMWs of 200 nm.
For DNA sequencing, individual nucleotides are analyzed which are the building blocks of DNA. “Monitoring the incorporation of single nucleotides into a full DNA strand in real-time is a revolutionary method”, Prof. Philip Tinnefeld explains. “It’s almost a live broadcast”.
Special proteins, the so-called DNA polymerases, incorporate the nucleotides in a zipper like fashion to build a double stranded DNA strand. In order to observe this process and extract the order of nucleotides, scientists employ special cover slides. A glass slide is coated with a thin metal film that contains tiny holes, so-called zeromode waveguides (ZMWs).
“The challenge for this application is to equip each of these nano-holes with exactly one polymerase that utilize the nucleotides”, Prof. Philip Tinnefeld says. Usually, these biomolecules are deposited randomly in the ZMWs, which results in many empty ZMWs while others contain multiple polymerase molecules. Even for the optimal situation, only 37 % of the holes can be used, as the expert for Nano-Bio-Sciences explains.
Coupling and positioning of molecules
His research group now achieved a more efficient usage of the ZMWs by developing a new binding strategy. For this, the nano-experts from the Institute for Physical and Theoretical Chemistry in the Laboratory of Emerging Nanometrology (Braunschweig University of Technology) could use their experience of working with the so-called DNA origami technique: the Braunschweig scientists literally fold precisely fitting structures from single viral DNA strands.
The nano-adapters were designed such that exactly one DNA origami can bind in every ZMW. The nano-adapters additionally provide docking points for functional units, like fluorescent dyes or the polymerase molecules that are used for DNA sequencing. “With our novel strategy, we connect single molecules via DNA origami with the lithographically fabricated ZMWs. This procedure can improve the efficiency of DNA sequencing and also be beneficial for applications in other areas of research like molecular electronics”, Prof. Tinnefeld summarizes.
About the project
This research project of the NanoBioSciences group of Prof. Philip Tinnfeld (Institute for Physical and Theoretical Chemistry) was conducted at the new Laboratory of Emerging Nanometrology of the Braunschweig University of Technology and was funded by a Starting Grant of the European Research Council (SiMBA).
E. Pibiri, P. Holzmeister, B. Lalkens, G.P. Acuna, P. Tinnefeld (2014):Single-Molecule Positioning in Zeromode Waveguides by DNA Origami Nano-Adapters - Nano Lett.
Prof. Philip Tinnefeld
Dr. Guillermo Acuna
Institut für Physikalische und Theoretische Chemie
Laboratory of Emerging Nanometrology
Technische Universität Braunschweig
Tel: 0531 391 5330
Stephan Nachtigall | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Identifying drug targets for leukaemia
02.05.2016 | The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
A cell senses its own curves: New research from the MBL Whitman Center
29.04.2016 | Marine Biological Laboratory
If a person pushes a broken-down car alone, there is a certain effect. If another person helps, the result is the sum of their efforts. If two micro-particles are pushing another microparticle, however, the resulting effect may not necessarily be the sum their efforts. A recent study published in Nature Communications, measured this odd effect that scientists call “many body.”
In the microscopic world, where the modern miniaturized machines at the new frontiers of technology operate, as long as we are in the presence of two...
Researchers from the Max Planck Institute Stuttgart have developed self-propelled tiny ‘microbots’ that can remove lead or organic pollution from contaminated water.
Working with colleagues in Barcelona and Singapore, Samuel Sánchez’s group used graphene oxide to make their microscale motors, which are able to adsorb lead...
Neutron scattering and computational modeling have revealed unique and unexpected behavior of water molecules under extreme confinement that is unmatched by any known gas, liquid or solid states.
In a paper published in Physical Review Letters, researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory describe a new tunneling state of...
Honeycomb structures as the basic building block for industrial applications presented using holo pyramid
Researchers of the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) will introduce their latest developments in the field of bionic lightweight design at Hannover Messe from 25...
Polymer solar cells can be even cheaper and more reliable thanks to a breakthrough by scientists at Linköping University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). This work is about avoiding costly and unstable fullerenes.
Polymer solar cells can be even cheaper and more reliable thanks to a breakthrough by scientists at Linköping University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences...
27.04.2016 | Event News
15.04.2016 | Event News
12.04.2016 | Event News
02.05.2016 | Life Sciences
02.05.2016 | Materials Sciences
02.05.2016 | Physics and Astronomy