Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Physicists Demonstrate Precise Manipulation of DNA-Drug Interactions

21.05.2008
Mark Williams, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Physics at Northeastern University’s College of Arts in Sciences, and his research team have developed a method using optical tweezers to better understand how those interactions occur.

Being able to target the genetic code to develop an effective treatment of a disease is the ultimate goal for many scientists. Focusing on how the DNA interacts with a potential drug is an important element of DNA therapy research. Mark Williams, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Physics at Northeastern University’s College of Arts and Sciences, and his research team have developed a method using optical tweezers to better understand how those interactions occur.

This research, performed primarily by graduate student Thaya Paramanathan, published in a recent edition of the Journal of the American Chemical Society (vol. 130, p. 3752), has the potential to uncover crucial information about how to target DNA in order to develop therapies for chronic diseases such as cancer and AIDS.

DNA, the structure that holds the human genetic code, is composed of nucleic acid bases pairing up and bonding together to form a double helix. Intercalators are molecules that bind between DNA base pairs and have been found to inhibit cell replication, a highly desired quality for potential drug targets. Novel “threading” intercalators have recently been developed to optimize DNA binding. Due to the strength of these bonds and the slow rate of binding, however, it is hard to study the interactions of these intercalators using normal methods, resulting in a limited availability of data and research options.

To address these issues, Mark Williams and his team stretched single DNA molecules using optical tweezers to better control the interactions between the DNA and the potential drug target molecules.

“By studying this threading mechanism on a single DNA molecule, we were able to directly measure the physical characteristics of the interactions between the DNA and potential DNA binding drugs,” said Williams.

The optical tweezers grab the ends of the DNA strand and stretch it out, allowing for the DNA strands to separate more quickly. When the DNA bases separate, the drug molecule, which is dumbbell-shaped and binds with the DNA in the center of the dumb-bell, slides in between the base pairs. When the bond re-forms between the base pairs, the potential drug molecule remains stuck between the DNA strands that form the double helix, and therefore it has formed a very strong bond.

The observations lead to the understanding of how and under what circumstances these bonds occur, which can help in the development of drug therapies that would inhibit or prevent mutated cells from replicating.

“The ability to precisely quantify and characterize the physical mechanism of this threading intercalation should help to fine-tune the desired DNA binding properties,” added Williams.

About Northeastern

Founded in 1898, Northeastern University is a private research university located in the heart of Boston. Northeastern is a leader in interdisciplinary research, urban engagement, and the integration of classroom learning with real-world experience. The university’s distinctive cooperative education program, where students alternate semesters of full-time study with semesters of paid work in fields relevant to their professional interests and major, is one of the largest and most innovative in the world. The University offers a comprehensive range of undergraduate and graduate programs leading to degrees through the doctorate in six undergraduate colleges, eight graduate schools, and two part-time divisions.

Jenny Eriksen | newswise
Further information:
http://nuweb.neu.edu/mark/
http://www.northeastern.edu

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Further Improvement of Qubit Lifetime for Quantum Computers
09.12.2016 | Forschungszentrum Jülich

nachricht Electron highway inside crystal
09.12.2016 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>