Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Carnegie Mellon scientists create PNA molecule with potential to build nanodevices

05.10.2005


For the first time, a team of investigators at Carnegie Mellon University has shown that the binding of metal ions can mediate the formation of peptide nucleic acid (PNA) duplexes from single strands of PNA that are only partly complementary. This result opens new opportunities to create functional, three-dimensional nanosize structures such as molecular-scale electronic circuits, which could reduce by thousands of times the size of today’s common electronic devices. The research results will appear in the October 26 issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society.



"DNA nanotechnology has led to the construction of sophisticated three-dimensional nano-architectures composed exclusively from nucleic acid strands. These structures can acquire a completely new set of magnetic and electrical properties if metal ions are incorporated in the nucleic acids at specific locations because the metal ions have unpaired electrons," said Catalina Achim, assistant professor of chemistry at the Mellon College of Science. "Our goal is to harness the information storage ability of metal-containing PNAs to build molecular-scale devices – tiny replicas of today’s electronic circuit components, such as wires, diodes and transistors."

Normally, DNA occurs as the well-known double helix first proposed by James Watson and Francis Crick 50 years ago. Each strand of the helix consists of a backbone linked to nucleobases, which occupy the inside of the helix. Nucleobases of one strand bind only to specific nucleobases of a complementary strand, and the two strands wind around one another like a twisted ladder. Artificially manufactured PNAs incorporate nucleobases that are bound to a backbone chain of pseudo-amino acids, rather than the sugar-phosphate groups of DNA.


"In modifying our PNAs so that they are significantly more stable, we have discovered that the PNA strands don’t have to be fully complementary for a metal-containing PNA duplex to form. This is an important finding because it should permit us to use non-complementary parts of the PNA duplexes to construct larger structures, which are useful for material science applications," said Achim.

Two years ago, Achim was the first scientist to report the construction of PNA duplexes that contained metal ions (nickel ions, specifically) and ligands inserted in place of a central nucleobases pair. Since then, the researchers, including graduate students and postdocs Richard Watson, Yury Skorik and Goutam Patra, have synthesized PNAs with a variety of ligands and metal ions to broaden the range of thermal stability and electronic properties. By replacing a nucleobase of a PNA with the molecule 8-hydroxyquinoline, which readily binds to copper ions, the research team constructed PNAs whose nucleic acid strands are only partly complementary and found that these duplexes are held together by standard Watson-Crick nucleobase pairs, but also by bonds between copper ions and the 8-hydroxyquinolines projecting from each of the two strands.

Lauren Ward | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.andrew.cmu.edu
http://www.cmu.edu/mcs

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 >>>