Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

DNA constraints control structure of attached macromolecules

29.06.2005


A new method for manipulating macromolecules has been developed by researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The technique uses double-stranded DNA to direct the behavior of other molecules. In previous DNA nanotechnology efforts, duplex DNA has been used as a static lattice to construct geometrical objects in three dimensions. Instead of manipulating DNA alone into such shapes, the researchers are using DNA to control the folding and resulting structure of RNA. Eventually, they envision building supramolecular machines whose inner workings are governed by twisted strands of DNA.



In a paper that has been accepted for publication in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, and posted on its Web site, Silverman and graduate student Chandrasekhar Miduturu begin with a piece of unfolded RNA. Through specific chemical reactions, they attach two strands of DNA, each resembling one side of a ladder. The two DNA strands spontaneously bind together, then the researchers add magnesium ions to initiate folding of the RNA.

"Folding of the RNA structure competes with formation of the DNA constraint until a chemical balance is reached," Silverman said. "In some cases, the DNA is like a barnacle, just stuck onto the RNA without perturbing its structure. In other cases, the DNA changes the RNA structure. We can predict which situation will occur based on the shape of the RNA and on the attachment points of the DNA constraint."


In cases where the normal RNA shape and the DNA constraint cannot co-exist simultaneously, the balance between competing RNA and DNA structures is controlled by the concentration of magnesium ions, Silverman said.

In work not yet published, the researchers have also shown that the effects of the DNA constraint on the RNA structure can be modulated by external stimuli such as DNA oligonucleotide strands, protein enzymes and chemical reagents.

While Silverman and Miduturu are currently using RNA as a proof of principle for their DNA constraint studies, they also plan to use the new technique to more effectively study the folding process of RNA. Because they can control RNA structure precisely, they could generate and examine biologically relevant folded and misfolded RNAs. They could also hook the DNA constraints to other molecules, including non-biological macromolecules, to control their folding.

Importantly, the process of manipulating macromolecules with DNA constraints can be either reversible or irreversible, depending on which chemical trigger is used. Like a switch, a particular molecular shape could be turned on and off.

"Another key aspect of DNA constraints is their programmability," Silverman said. "By placing two or more constraints on one molecule, we could generate multiple molecular states that would be programmable by DNA sequence. In other efforts, we would like to control macroscopic assembly processes by influencing the shapes of self-assembling molecular components."

James E. Kloeppel | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uiuc.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht For a chimpanzee, one good turn deserves another
27.06.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Mathematik in den Naturwissenschaften (MPIMIS)

nachricht New method to rapidly map the 'social networks' of proteins
27.06.2017 | Salk Institute

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Touch Displays WAY-AX and WAY-DX by WayCon

27.06.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Drones that drive

27.06.2017 | Information Technology

Ultra-compact phase modulators based on graphene plasmons

27.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>