2023 Author: Bryan Walter | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-21 22:24
DNA duplex in A (top) and B (bottom) forms.
A group of researchers from the University of California at Davis and the University of Washington have shown that DNA conduction can be controlled by changing the structure of the molecule. This makes it possible to use DNA as a nanoscale electromechanical switch. The work was published in the journal Nature Communications.
The authors of the work drew attention to the fact that the data on the conductivity of DNA differ greatly in different studies and decided to check whether the conductivity depends on the conformation of the molecule. By changing the composition of the solution in which the DNA molecules are placed, scientists have shown that the conductivity of DNA in the A-form is an order of magnitude higher than in the denser B-form. Since the conformational transition is reversible, the conductivity can be repeatedly switched between the two values.
These forms differ in the following. In the A-form, DNA is more compressed in the longitudinal direction and has a cavity inside, and in the B-form it is more elongated and has no cavity. The transition from one form to another can occur under the influence of the chemical environment of the molecule. In an aqueous solution, DNA tends to take the B-form, and when placed, for example, in ethanol, pass into the A-form.
The phenomenon allows DNA to be viewed as a potential switch for electronics at the molecular level, the researchers said. A special convenience is provided by the DNA origami technique, which allows you to fold DNA into a specific two-dimensional or three-dimensional figure. However, the development of functional DNA-based gadgets is still a long way off.