Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New tool developed for DNA research

Date:
April 7, 2010
Source:
University of Copenhagen
Summary:
Luminescent markers are an indispensable tool for researchers working with DNA. But the markers are troublesome. Some tend to destroy the function and structure of DNA when inserted. Others emit so little light, that they can barely be detected in the hereditary material. So researchers have been asking for alternative markers.

In brief FRET measurements are performed by forcing two luminescent markers to transfer light-energy from one to the other, and then measuring the efficiency of the transfer. The two different markers are placed in the DNA-helix. When they are subjected to a lightpulse one marker (tCO) emits part of the energy to the other (tCnitro). This energy transfer can be measured. And by calculating backwards it is possible obtain very exact information about the distance and angle that the two have relative to one another.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Copenhagen

Luminescent markers are an indispensable tool for researchers working with DNA. But the markers are troublesome. Some tend to destroy the function and structure of DNA when inserted. Others emit so little light, that they can barely be detected in the hereditary material. So researchers have been asking for alternative markers. Now a PhD student at Department of Chemistry at the University of Copenhagen has developed a tool in collaboration with researchers at Chalmers Technical University, which could solve both problems: A tool that you might call a molecular gauge.

PhD student Soren Preus has investigated the properties of the two luminescent so called DNA base analogues tCO and tCnitro trying to determine whether they could measure the structure of DNA without disrupting it. His scrutiny has shown that the function of DNA is unimpeded by the insertion of the molecular gauge. And even better: One base analogue is very efficient at emitting light, and the other very good at receiving it. And because you can provoke transport of light-energy between the two luminescent markers they are usable for a measuring technique known as FRET or Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer.

Measuring angles with light

In brief FRET measurements are performed by forcing two luminescent markers to transfer light-energy from one to the other, and then measuring the efficiency of the transfer. The two different markers are placed in the DNA-helix. When they are subjected to a lightpulse one marker (tCO) emits part of the energy to the other (tCnitro). This energy transfer can be measured. And by calculating backwards it is possible obtain very exact information about the distance and angle that the two have relative to one another.

Secrets from the center

Knowing distance and angle of the markers allows for calculations of distance and angle of all the natural base pairs in the DNA structure. And with that the researcher can put together a picture showing every twist and turn of the structure. Because structure and function are closely related in DNA, the method holds the potential to reveal new insights into the workings of DNA.

Putting the markers on the gauge

FRET-measurements are not a new phenomenon. What's new is, that Soren Preus has developed one of the base analogues tCnitro in collaboration with Swedish research institution Chalmers University of Technology. But even more important is the fact, that Mr Preus has used the facilities of the Molecular Engineering Group at University of Copenhagen to analyse every aspect of the energy-transfer between the two markers, because this allows future DNA-researchers to translate measurements to structure.

Fundamental as well as applied

Mr. Preus hopes that the new tool might find its use in characterising the structural changes that take place when a protein binds to DNA or RNA as that could explain basic cellular mechanisms. But equally important: The molecular gauge can be used to examine exactly how new drugs work, when they bind to DNA or RNA.

The results have been published in Journal of Physical Chemistry. B 2010, 114, 1050-1056 and Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2009, 131, 4288


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Copenhagen. The original article was written by Jes Andersen. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Bo%u0308rjesson et al. Nucleic Acid Base Analog FRET-Pair Facilitating Detailed Structural Measurements in Nucleic Acid Containing Systems. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2009; 131 (12): 4288 DOI: 10.1021/ja806944w

Cite This Page:

University of Copenhagen. "New tool developed for DNA research." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 April 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100406093526.htm>.
University of Copenhagen. (2010, April 7). New tool developed for DNA research. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100406093526.htm
University of Copenhagen. "New tool developed for DNA research." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100406093526.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Cases Keep Coming for Monrovia's Island Hospital

Ebola Cases Keep Coming for Monrovia's Island Hospital

AFP (Oct. 1, 2014) A look inside Monrovia's Island Hospital, a key treatment centre in the fight against Ebola in Liberia's capital city. Duration: 00:34 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Puts Stress on Liberian Health Workers

Ebola Puts Stress on Liberian Health Workers

AP (Oct. 1, 2014) The Ebola outbreak is putting stress on first responders in Liberia. Ambulance drivers say they are struggling with chronic shortages of safety equipment and patients who don't want to go to the hospital. (Oct. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctors Reassure Public Ebola Patient Won't Cause Outbreak

Doctors Reassure Public Ebola Patient Won't Cause Outbreak

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) After the announcement that the first U.S. patient had been diagnosed with Ebola, doctors were quick to say a U.S. outbreak is highly unlikely. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
TX Hospital Confirms Patient Admitted With Ebola

TX Hospital Confirms Patient Admitted With Ebola

AP (Sep. 30, 2014) Medical officials from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital confirm they are treating a patient with the Ebola virus, the first case found in the US. (Sept. 30 Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins