Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Tiny technology leads to big changes in DNA research at Argonne

07.10.2002


New gene therapy procedures, DNA-based sensors, and other medical applications may be possible using a new method to initiate and control chemical reactions on DNA strands, developed by a team of chemists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory. The new technology uses specially designed nanometer-sized semiconductors--less than a billionth of an inch in size.



The technology is based on the group’s discovery of "conductive linkers"--small organic molecules that connect the electronic properties of semiconductors to biological or organic molecules. The scientists have used conductive linkers to connect strands of DNA to titanium dioxide crystals measuring only 4.5 nanometers in diameter (a nanometer is about 10,000 times narrower than a human hair).

In the presence of light, a titanium dioxide nanocrystal acts as a semiconductor, generating strong oxidizing power that attacks organic molecules in the same uncontrollable way that laundry bleach attacks all colors in the wash. The researchers found that by using different conductive linkers they can selectively control oxidation.


These nanoparticles have a wide range of potential applications in DNA-based sensing devices. The scientists use the speed of electron transfers to determine the sequence and structure of DNA strands. The four bases that make up DNA are known to have different electronic properties that vary with the sequence and structure of the DNA strand. Guanine is the most readily oxidized, and therefore has the fastest reaction. It is followed, in decreasing order of reactivity, by adenine, cytosine and thymine. By activating the titanium dioxide with light, the team can study the reactions and determine the sequence by comparing the speed and efficiency of the reactions.

The team is part of the Argonne Chemistry Division and includes Chemistry Division Director Marion Thurnauer and chemists Tijana Rajh, David Tiede and Lin Chen. In addition, the team has collaborated with Gayle Woloshak of Northwestern University, formerly of Argonne, to exploit this chemistry for use in gene therapy.

In the body, proteins called restriction enzymes are normally used to recognize and cut defective gene sequences. The researchers have created a novel "artificial restriction enzyme" that can be focused and controlled by light.

For example, a synthetic DNA single strand containing the sequence of a genetic defect can be linked to titanium dioxide. The researchers have shown that the DNA strand will carry the attached titanium dioxide to the cell nucleus, and presumably to the site of the genetic defect on the chromosome. Light will initiate the oxidative chemistry, which clips the defective gene and permits repair with a healthy gene sequence.


The nation’s first national laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory conducts basic and applied scientific research across a wide spectrum of disciplines, ranging from high-energy physics to climatology and biotechnology. Since 1990, Argonne has worked with more than 600 companies and numerous federal agencies and other organizations to help advance America’s scientific leadership and prepare the nation for the future. Argonne is operated by the University of Chicago as part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s national laboratory system.

Katie Williams | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.anl.gov/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht MicroRNA helps cancer evade immune system
19.09.2017 | Salk Institute

nachricht Ruby: Jacobs University scientists are collaborating in the development of a new type of chocolate
18.09.2017 | Jacobs University Bremen gGmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

Im Focus: Fast, convenient & standardized: New lab innovation for automated tissue engineering & drug

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...

Im Focus: Silencing bacteria

HZI researchers pave the way for new agents that render hospital pathogens mute

Pathogenic bacteria are becoming resistant to common antibiotics to an ever increasing degree. One of the most difficult germs is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a...

Im Focus: Artificial Enzymes for Hydrogen Conversion

Scientists from the MPI for Chemical Energy Conversion report in the first issue of the new journal JOULE.

Cell Press has just released the first issue of Joule, a new journal dedicated to sustainable energy research. In this issue James Birrell, Olaf Rüdiger,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

New quantum phenomena in graphene superlattices

19.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A simple additive to improve film quality

19.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>