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 | Source: Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Further information: www.muellerlab.org/
More articles from Life Sciences:
10.12.2013 | Journal of Biophotonics
How colors enter the world of the fly
10.12.2013 | Nationales Bernstein Netzwerk Computational Neuroscience
Researchers from Brown University and the University of Hawaii have found some mineralogical surprises in the Moon's largest impact crater.
Data from the Moon Mineralogy Mapper that flew aboard India's Chandrayaan-1 lunar orbiter shows a diverse mineralogy in the subsurface of the giant South Pole Aitken basin.
The differing mineral signatures could be reflective of the minerals dredged up at the time of the giant impact 4 billion years ago, ...
In power electronics systems bonded connections create the central electrical connections between adjoining surfaces.
The quality of these bonded connections is one of the main factors that determines the reliability and availability of drive systems in electric vehicles, and hence constitutes a major design challenge for German auto manufacturers aiming to electrify their vehicles.
Now the partners participating in the RoBE (Robust Bonds in ...
International team of scientists develops new feedback method for optimizing the laser pulse shapes used in the control of chemical reactions
In many ways, traditional chemical synthesis is similar to cooking. To alter the final product, you can change the ingredients or their ratio, change the method of mixing ingredients, or change the temperature or pressure of the environment of the ingredients.
Like an accomplished chef, chemists have become very skilled ...
A genetic defect protects mice from infection with influenza viruses
A new study published in the scientific journal PLOS Pathogens points out that mice lacking a protein called Tmprss2 are no longer affected by certain flu viruses.
The discovery was made by researchers from the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) in Braunschweig in collaboration with colleagues from Göttingen and ...
The Light: Global study gets underway with online user survey
Light has a fundamental impact on our sense of well-being and performance. In cooperation with Zumtobel, a supplier of lighting solutions, Fraunhofer IAO has launched a global user survey of lighting quality in offices. The objective is to identify the best lighting conditions for a variety of spaces and lighting ...
10.12.2013 | Physics and Astronomy
10.12.2013 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
10.12.2013 | Power and Electrical Engineering
10.12.2013 | Event News
05.12.2013 | Event News
04.12.2013 | Event News