Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Teasing apart the molecules of life

24.02.2003


Researchers devise new technique and measure the forces required to unzip DNA



Fifty years after James Watson and Francis Crick’s publication of the structure of DNA, research in the latest issue of the Journal of Biology shows how scientists can now measure the forces needed to tear the DNA double helix apart. The work was carried out using the first successful simultaneous combination of two important techniques for looking at single molecules - single molecule fluorescence and optical trapping.
Optical trapping, or ’optical tweezers’, uses laser beams to counteract, and hence reveal, the tiny forces involved in the complex interactions between molecules. Single molecule fluorescence enables researchers to study biological systems on a molecule by molecule basis, by lighting up parts of the molecule in particular circumstances. The combination of the two methods applied to a single molecule has been impossible up until now because the light from the lasers used in conventional optical traps is too bright to allow single molecule florescence to be seen.

Matthew Lang, Polly Fordyce and Steven Block devised a new method, which uses special filters and specific fluorescence labels, to successfully combine the techniques of optical trapping and single-molecule fluorescence for the first time. They used this new method to simultaneously examine the structural and mechanical changes occurring as a small fragment of DNA was ripped apart.



The authors of this study, based at the University of Stanford, California, believe that their new technique will have a major impact in a wide range of biological investigations.

"We anticipate that this technique will have broad applicability to the study of fundamental biological questions"

Single molecule experiments allow scientists to study rare molecules that can be impossible to look at in complex mixture of chemicals found in the cells of our body. Many of these molecules may play important roles in the development of disease or are simply essential to maintenance of life. The published study provides another much-needed tool to help science improve our understanding of how our bodies work and what happens when they go wrong.

This article is available free of charge, in line with the publisher’s policy of open access to original research: http://www.biomedcentral.com/html/info/about/block01apress.html

Gordon Fletcher | BioMed Central Limited
Further information:
http://www.biomedcentral.com/info/about/pr-releases?pr=20030221b

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Organ-on-a-chip mimics heart's biomechanical properties
23.02.2017 | Vanderbilt University

nachricht Researchers identify cause of hereditary skeletal muscle disorder
22.02.2017 | Klinikum der Universität München

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>