Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Genomics
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Resolving the Structure of a Single Biological Molecule

Published: Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Last Updated: Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Bookmark and Share
Utilising AFM, researchers observed variations in keyways for proteins that may aid our understanding of the genetic information in DNA.

Researchers at the London Centre for Nanotechnology have determined the structure of DNA from measurements on a single molecule, and found that this structure is not as regular as one might think, reports the journal Small.

Our life depends on molecular machinery that is continuously at work in our bodies. The structure of these nanometre-scale machines is thus at the heart of our understanding of health and disease. This is very apparent in the case of the Watson-Crick DNA double-helix structure, which has been the key to understanding how genetic information is stored and passed on.

Watson and Crick’s discovery was based on diffraction of X-rays by millions of ordered and aligned DNA molecules. This method is extremely powerful and still used today – in a more evolved form – to determine the structure of biological molecules. It has the important drawbacks, however, that it only provides static, averaged pictures of molecular structures and that it relies on the accurate ordering and alignment of many molecules. This process, called crystallisation, can prove very challenging.

Building on previous work in Dr Bart Hoogenboom’s research group at the London Centre for Nanotechnology, and in collaboration with the National Physical Laboratory, first author Alice Pyne has applied “soft-touch” atomic force microscopy to large, irregularly arranged and individual DNA molecules. In this form of microscopy, a miniature probe is used to feel the surface of the molecules one by one, rather than seeing them.

To demonstrate the power of their method, Pyne, Hoogenboom and collaborators have measured the structure of a single DNA molecule, finding on average good agreement with the structure as it has been known since Watson and Crick. Strikingly, however, the single-molecule images also reveal significant variations in the depths of grooves in the double helix structure.

While the origin of the observed variations is not yet fully understood, it is known that these grooves act as keyways for proteins (molecular keys) that determine to which extent a gene is expressed in a living cell. The observation of variations in these keyways may thus help us to determine the mechanisms by which living cells promote and suppress the use of genetic information stored in their DNA.

The article, Single-molecule reconstruction of oligonucleotide secondary structure by atomic force microscopy, is available to access online. 


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,200+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,800+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.


Scientific News
Liquid Biopsies: Miracle Diagnostic or Next New Fad?
Thanks to the development of highly specific gene-amplification and sequencing technologies liquid biopsies access more biomarkers relevant to more cancers than ever before.
Discovered Through ‘Big Data’ Analysis
Researchers at the SBP have identified over 100 new genetic regions that affect the immune response to cancer.
New Therapeutic Targets For Small Cell Lung Cancer Identified
Researchers at UTSW Medical Center have identified a protein termed ASCL1 that is essential to the development of small cell lung cancer and that, when deleted in the lungs of mice, prevents the cancer from forming.
Deciphering Inactive X Chromosomes
Untangling the Barr body of inactive X chromosomes valuable for understanding chromosome structure and gene expression.
Micro Disease-Detecting Senor Created
Researchers at McMaster University have created a microscopic disease-detecting sensor that can turn on to detect trace amounts of substances.
Liquid Biopsies Treating Ovarian Cancer
Researchers have discovered a promising monitor and treat recurrence of ovarian cancer. Detecting cancer long before tumours reappear.
Uncovering a New Principle in Chemotherapy Resistance in Breast Cancer
The NIH study has revealed an entirely unexpected process for acquiring drug resistance that bypasses the need to re-establish DNA damage repair in breast cancers that have mutant BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes.
Understanding Treatment Resistant Melanoma
Researchers have determined how advanced melanoma becomes resistant; a development toward developing treatments.
Investigating ‘Black Box’ of Human Genetics
Investigations into inactive X chromosomes have shown unusual DNA repeat elements are essential for maintaining 3D structure.
Liquid Biopsies: DNA Size Matters
Study finds circulating tumour DNA can be distinguished from healthy DNA through fragment size identification.
Skyscraper Banner

SELECTBIO Market Reports
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,200+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,800+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!