Book of Abstracts: Albany 2011
June 14-18 2011
©Adenine Press (2010)
Nucleic acid-based molecular devices
In recent years, the predictable interactions between complementary sequences of DNA or RNA molecules have been utilized for the construction of a large variety of synthetic biomolecular structures and devices. For instance, the recently developed DNA origami technique enables the assembly of two- and even three-dimensional molecular objects with almost arbitrary shape - and with nanoscale precision. These structures can be used to arrange other molecular components, e.g. proteins, into well-defined geometries. Researchers envision the utilization of such structures as molecular assembly lines, or for the arrangement of artificial enzyme cascades. In order to demonstrate the function of molecular-scale structures and devices, appropriate characterization tools are required. Typically, DNA nanostructures are studied using scanning probe or electron microscopy techniques, but in many cases optical characterization methods would be preferable. In the first part of the talk, it will be discussed how modern super-resolution microscopy methods can be applied to study DNA assemblies whose dimensions are well below the classical diffraction limit.
In addition to the realization of static molecular nanostructures one of the visions of molecular nanotechnology is the generation of dynamic molecular assemblies that resemble naturally occurring molecular machines. In fact, DNA and RNA molecules have already been utilized for the construction of a variety of molecular devices that can be switched between several distinct conformational states, that display nano-scale motion or that bind and release molecules on demand. Moreover, DNA recognition reactions have also been employed for the realization of artificial regulatory circuits, which can be used to control the timing of molecular assembly processes, or to direct the operation of nucleic acid-based nanodevices. In the second part of the talk, an example for an artificial RNA-based reaction network will be demonstrated that controls the motion of a DNA nanodevice.
Friedrich C. Simmel
Physics Department, ZNN/WSI
85748 Garching, Germany