Mussels are true masters of adhesion. Whether on the wood of a pier, the metal of a ship’s hull, rocks, or to their own kind, they stick to everything. Researchers led by Philip B. Messersmith at Northwestern University (Evanston, IL/USA) have successfully synthesized a mimic of one of the “universal adhesives” used by mussels.
As the scientists report in the journal AngewandteChemie, they were able to use their synthetic “mussel glue” to fix DNA molecules on various substrates. This new, simple method seems particularly promising for the production of DNA chips for diagnostics and research.
Modern analytical strategies for the detection and analysis of biomolecules are often based on robust and inexpensive methods for immobilizing DNA, proteins, and other biomolecules on surfaces. DNA microarray techniques involve the arrangement of different DNA probes on a single chip. Various target DNA molecules are selectively fished out of the many found in a DNA sample. The target DNA is identified by means of the binding location on the chip, because the location of every probe on the chip is documented.
“Previous anchoring strategies have generally been developed specifically for a single substrate,” says Messersmith, “they are thus ineffective on other substrates.” Messersmith and his colleagues have now developed a universal method—inspired by mussels—that can adhere to just about any material desired. Biopolymers responsible for the unusual adhesive properties of mussels have now been identified. These polymers are rich in catechol and amino groups. “We have synthesized a catecholamine polymer that mimics the chemistry of the musselproteins,” reports Messersmith.
The new approach is rather simple: Just place the desired substrate in a solution of the catecholamine polymer overnight. The polymer adheres as a thin layer on any of the usual substrates used for DNA arrays, such as glass, as well as less common substrates such as gold, platinum, oxides, semiconductors, or various polymer substrates. The coating then easily binds DNA molecules without influencing their biological activity. This makes it possible to make micropatterns with DNA (DNA spotting), as is required for DNA chips.
The secret of the success of the catecholamine polymer: it contains special groups of atoms that can bind to a diversity of substrate materials through a variety of mechanisms. On the other hand, target DNA molecules from a sample bind exclusively to the corresponding specific DNA probes, without requiring a treatment to block unspecific binding to the substrate. Says Messersmith: “The new coating strategy may significantly simplify DNA microarray technology.”
Author: Phillip B. Messersmith, Northwestern University, Evanston (USA), http://biomaterials.bme.northwestern.edu/people.asp
Title: Facile DNA Immobilization on Surfaces through Catecholamine Polymer
Angewandte Chemie International Edition, Permalink to the article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/anie.201005001
Phillip B. Messersmith | Angewandte Chemie
Not of Divided Mind
19.01.2017 | Hertie-Institut für klinische Hirnforschung (HIH)
CRISPR meets single-cell sequencing in new screening method
19.01.2017 | CeMM Forschungszentrum für Molekulare Medizin der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
19.01.2017 | Earth Sciences
19.01.2017 | Life Sciences
19.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy