Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


WWU researchers furnish DNA with tiny "wire" / Natural DNA structure preserved

Scientists from the University of Münster and the University of Zurich have produced an artificial DNA with a razor-thin "wire" inside, demonstrating in the process that the natural structure is preserved. The results of their research are presented in the current online edition of the prestigious magazine "Nature Chemistry".

The DNA biomolecule, responsible in nature for storing hereditary information, is being used increasingly as a component in nanotechnology. One successful approach for producing functional nanostructures from DNA is to insert metal ions into an artificial DNA double helix, which serves as a framework.

"If several metal ions are arranged next to each other in this way," says Prof. Jens Müller from the Institute of Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry at WWU, "a molecule is produced which incorporates, so to speak, a one-dimensional wire." Together with researchers from the University of Zurich, his team has now produced an artificial DNA with a razor-thin "wire" inside, demonstrating in the process that the natural structure is preserved.

Prof. Müller's team replaced some of the so-called nucleobases, found inside each DNA spiral, with artificial components. "In the case of the DNA we have created, these artificial components are able to bind extremely tightly to silver ions," says Prof. Müller. "As a result, we have succeeded in arranging three silver ions directly next to each other inside the spiral, like a string of pearls." What's special about the structure of the DNA helix, which was determined in collaboration with researchers at the Institute of Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Zurich, is the fact that the form of the spiral is hardly changed through the insertion of the metal ions. "Such information about the structure is enormously important for the further development of functionalized DNA," comments Prof. Müller.

Before the artificial DNA can be used in future as a nanowire or nanomagnet - or in analytics, e.g. to ascertain the existence of heavy metals in tap-water - further physical properties must first be examined in detail, now that the structure has been successfully clarified.

Jens Müller has been Professor of Inorganic Chemistry at the WWU Münster since 2008. Before that he was a beneficiary of the Emmy Noether Programme for outstanding junior research staff at universities. Since January 2010 he has also been heading a subproject in the Collaborative Research Centre 858 - "Synergistic Effects in Chemistry: From Additivity to Cooperativity".

Reference: Johannsen S. et al. (2010): Solution structure of a DNA double helix with consecutive metal-mediated base pairs; Nature Chemistry, Published online: 17 January 2010 | doi:10.1038/nchem.512

Dr. Christina Heimken | idw
Further information:

Further reports about: CHEMISTRY DNA Nature Immunology WWU artificial component double helix inorganic silver ions

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Two decades of training students and experts in tracking infectious disease
27.11.2015 | Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften Hamburg

nachricht Increased carbon dioxide enhances plankton growth, opposite of what was expected
27.11.2015 | Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Climate study finds evidence of global shift in the 1980s

Planet Earth experienced a global climate shift in the late 1980s on an unprecedented scale, fuelled by anthropogenic warming and a volcanic eruption, according to new research published this week.

Scientists say that a major step change, or ‘regime shift’, in the Earth’s biophysical systems, from the upper atmosphere to the depths of the ocean and from...

Im Focus: Innovative Photovoltaics – from the Lab to the Façade

Fraunhofer ISE Demonstrates New Cell and Module Technologies on its Outer Building Façade

The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE has installed 70 photovoltaic modules on the outer façade of one of its lab buildings. The modules were...

Im Focus: Lactate for Brain Energy

Nerve cells cover their high energy demand with glucose and lactate. Scientists of the University of Zurich now provide new support for this. They show for the first time in the intact mouse brain evidence for an exchange of lactate between different brain cells. With this study they were able to confirm a 20-year old hypothesis.

In comparison to other organs, the human brain has the highest energy requirements. The supply of energy for nerve cells and the particular role of lactic acid...

Im Focus: Laser process simulation available as app for first time

In laser material processing, the simulation of processes has made great strides over the past few years. Today, the software can predict relatively well what will happen on the workpiece. Unfortunately, it is also highly complex and requires a lot of computing time. Thanks to clever simplification, experts from Fraunhofer ILT are now able to offer the first-ever simulation software that calculates processes in real time and also runs on tablet computers and smartphones. The fast software enables users to do without expensive experiments and to find optimum process parameters even more effectively.

Before now, the reliable simulation of laser processes was a job for experts. Armed with sophisticated software packages and after many hours on computer...

Im Focus: Quantum Simulation: A Better Understanding of Magnetism

Heidelberg physicists use ultracold atoms to imitate the behaviour of electrons in a solid

Researchers at Heidelberg University have devised a new way to study the phenomenon of magnetism. Using ultracold atoms at near absolute zero, they prepared a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

Fraunhofer’s Urban Futures Conference: 2 days in the city of the future

25.11.2015 | Event News

Gluten oder nicht Gluten? Überempfindlichkeit auf Weizen kann unterschiedliche Ursachen haben

17.11.2015 | Event News

Art Collection Deutsche Börse zeigt Ausstellung „Traces of Disorder“

21.10.2015 | Event News

Latest News

Siemens to supply 126 megawatts to onshore wind power plants in Scotland

27.11.2015 | Press release

Two decades of training students and experts in tracking infectious disease

27.11.2015 | Life Sciences

Coming to a monitor near you: A defect-free, molecule-thick film

27.11.2015 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>