Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Nanotechnology: Probing for interactions

Nanoparticles offer insights into interactions between single-stranded DNA and their binding proteins

Double-stranded DNA must disentangle itself into single strands during replication or repair to allow functional molecules to bind and perform their various operations. Cellular proteins specifically bind to single-stranded DNA to prevent their premature recombination.

Unfortunately, detailed studies of these DNA–protein interactions have been hindered by the need for expensive instrumentation and time-consuming labelling techniques. Yen Nee Tan at the A*STAR Institute of Materials Research and Engineering and co-workers1 have now developed a convenient method to characterize the interactions between single-stranded DNA and their binding proteins.

The researchers used the optical properties of gold nanoparticles to probe the mechanism of protein–DNA binding. When the nanoparticles were well dispersed in solution, they yielded a bright red color, but when aggregated, the solution changed to blue. Tan and co-workers discovered that when single-stranded DNA and its binding protein were both present in the solution, coupled with a salt that stimulates nanoparticle aggregation, the DNA remained red in color, indicating that the DNA–protein complexes had bound with the nanoparticles through electrosteric stabilization forces. In contrast, when the protein or single-stranded DNA was introduced alone in the salt solution, there was a greater shift to the blue-grey color, indicating nanoparticle aggregation (see image).

“The greatest challenge in this work was to determine the optimum conditions for single-stranded DNA to bind with its binding protein to form complexes that confer the highest stability to gold nanoparticles from salt-induced aggregation,” says Tan.

The researchers attribute binding of the nanoparticles and the DNA–protein complexes to the presence of sulphur-containing groups in the protein, which are known to create strong bonds with gold. The protein molecules alone are smaller in molecular size than the protein–DNA complexes, leading to a less effective steric stabilization of the nanoparticles.

Tan and co-workers showed that there was a minimum length of DNA sequence under which the binding protein–DNA adhesion mechanism could operate. They found that the binding protein had a preference for binding to specific chemical units (bases) which make up DNA, and were able to spot DNA sequence variations, called single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), even at the extreme ends of the molecule which are difficult to identify. Double-stranded DNA with SNPs cannot bind together so closely. The binding protein can thus attach to the dissociated single-stranded DNA to form protein–DNA complexes, offering sites to which gold nanoparticles can adhere.

“We plan to further develop this assay into a hassle-free genotyping assay to detect SNPs in real biological samples containing long genomic DNA,” says Tan.

The A*STAR-affiliated researchers contributing to this research are from the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering

Lee Swee Heng | Research asia research news
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod
21.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Second research flight into zero gravity
21.10.2016 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>