Electric-field Dependent Conformations of DNA Molecules on a Model Biosensor Surface

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Eric Josephs, Assistant Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/

Abstract: Despite the variety of nucleic acid sensors developed, we still do not have definite answers to some questions that are important to the molecular binding and, ultimately, the sensitivity and reliability of the sensors. How do the DNA probes distribute on the surface at the nanoscale? As the functionalized surfaces are highly heterogeneous, how are the conformations affected when the probe molecules interact with defects? How do DNA molecules respond to electric fields on the surface, which are applied in a variety of detection methods? With in situ electrochemical atomic force microscopy and careful tailoring of nanoscale surface interactions, we are able to observe the nanoscale conformations of individual DNA molecules on a model biosensor surface: thiolated DNA on a gold surface passivated with a hydroxyl-terminated alkanethiol self-assembled monolayer. We find that under applied electric fields, the conformations are highly sensitive to the choice of the alkanethiol molecule. Depending on the monolayer and the nature of the defects, the DNA molecules may either adopt a highly linear or a highly curved conformation. These unusual structures are difficult to observe through existing “ensemble” characterizations of nucleic acid sensors. These findings provide a step toward correlating target-binding affinity, selectivity, and kinetics to the nanoscale chemical structure of and around the probe molecules in practical nucleic acid devices. [The original abstract for this article contains (characters/images) that cannot be displayed here. Please click on the link below to read the full abstract and article.]

Additional Information

Nano Letters, 2012, 12 (10), 5255–5261
Language: English
Date: 2012
Nucleic acid sensors, DNA structures, electrochemical atomic force microscopy, scanning probe microscopy, alkanethiol self-assembled monolayers

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