Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

The electric slide dance of DNA knots

Date:
July 23, 2014
Source:
Sissa Medialab
Summary:
DNA has the nasty habit of getting tangled and forming knots. Scientists study these knots to understand their function and learn how to disentangle them (e.g. useful for gene sequencing techniques). Scientists have been carrying out research in which they simulate these knots and their dynamics. They have now devised and tested a method based on the application of electric fields and “optical tweezers”.

This image depicts a simulation of a knotted DNA chain under mechanical tension.
Credit: SISSA (Micheletti/Di Stefano)

DNA has the nasty habit of getting tangled and forming knots. Scientists study these knots to understand their function and learn how to disentangle them (e.g. useful for gene sequencing techniques). Cristian Micheletti, professor at the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) in Trieste and his team have been carrying out research in which they simulate these knots and their dynamics. In their latest paper, just published in the journal Soft Matter, Micheletti together with Marco Di Stefano, first author and PhD student at SISSA, and colleagues from Ljubljana and San Diego devised and tested a method based on the application of electric fields and "optical tweezers."

Related Articles


DNA is in fact an electrically charged molecule which reacts to the presence of opposing charges. "In our theoretical-computational study we took into account a "stretched-out" strand of DNA, with its ends secured by two optical tweezers that serve as anchors to keep them apart. We succeeded in moving the knot, inserted into the configuration, by applying an electric field," explains Micheletti. "Try to imagine holding one end of a knotted rope so that the rope is suspended above the ground: by shaking it gently you can make the knot slide down with the help of gravity. Something like that takes place in our experiments."

"Our work," concludes Micheletti, "provides useful information for setting up new experiments where the movement of the DNA knots can be controlled from the outside." In fact, in studies of this kind carried out to date the movement of the knot was "stochastic," that is, produced by thermal noise, the random movement of atoms caused by the rise in temperature of the system, and never directly controlled by the investigator.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Sissa Medialab. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Marco Di Stefano, Luca Tubiana, Massimiliano Di Ventra, Cristian Micheletti. Driving knots on DNA with AC/DC electric fields: topological friction and memory effects. Soft Matter, 2014; DOI: 10.1039/C4SM00160E

Cite This Page:

Sissa Medialab. "The electric slide dance of DNA knots." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140723110411.htm>.
Sissa Medialab. (2014, July 23). The electric slide dance of DNA knots. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140723110411.htm
Sissa Medialab. "The electric slide dance of DNA knots." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140723110411.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) — In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) — Millions of monarch butterflies begin to descend onto Mexico as part of their annual migration south. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Newsy (Dec. 19, 2014) — A new study suggests a certain type of bird was able to sense a tornado outbreak that moved through the U.S. a day before it hit. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) — The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
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

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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