Book of Abstracts: Albany 2007

category image Albany 2007
Conversation 15
June 19-23 2007

Metal-Containing Peptide Nucleic Acids

Peptide nucleic acid (PNA) is a synthetic analogue of DNA that consists of the same nucleobases as DNA but has a pseudo-peptide backbone. PNA forms duplexes based on Watson-Crick base pairing and it adopts a helical structure that resembles the DNA?s structure. Currently, only a crystal structure of a PNA·PNA homoduplex has been reported. We have obtained information about the structure in solution of PNA duplexes by using NMR spectroscopy studies. We have also studied PNAs that are chemically-modified by substitution of nucleobase pairs with ligands that have high affinity for metal ions and have shown that this modification leads to binding of one or several transition metal ions to specific locations within the PNA duplex. The properties of the metal-containing PNAs are determined by both factors specific to the metal ion, e.g., stability constants for the metal-ligand complex, geometry of the complex, and factors specific to the nucleic acid, such as position in the duplex where the modification is made, number of Watson-Crick base pairs and mismatches. The combination of electronic and magnetic properties of the transition metal ions with the information storage ability and chemical stability of the PNA is a good premise for using these new hybrid inorganic-nucleic acid structures for nanotechnology functional devices. Towards this goal, we are studying the electron transfer properties of the metal-containing PNA organized in self-assembled monolayers by electrochemical methods.

Catalina Achim

Department of Chemistry
Carnegie Mellon University
4400 Fifth Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890

Phone: 412 268 9588
Fax: 412 268 1061
Email: achim@.cmu.edu