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 From the cosmos to fusion plasmas, PPPL presents findings at global APS gathering
13.11.2018 | DOE/Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

nachricht A two-atom quantum duet
12.11.2018 | Institute for Basic Science

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: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

Im Focus: Coping with errors in the quantum age

Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly

The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Epoxy compound gets a graphene bump

14.11.2018 | Materials Sciences

Microgel powder fights infection and helps wounds heal

14.11.2018 | Health and Medicine

How algae and carbon fibers could sustainably reduce the athmospheric carbon dioxide concentration

14.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>