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      Materials science of DNA

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          A DNA-based method for rationally assembling nanoparticles into macroscopic materials.

          Colloidal particles of metals and semiconductors have potentially useful optical, optoelectronic and material properties that derive from their small (nanoscopic) size. These properties might lead to applications including chemical sensors, spectroscopic enhancers, quantum dot and nanostructure fabrication, and microimaging methods. A great deal of control can now be exercised over the chemical composition, size and polydispersity of colloidal particles, and many methods have been developed for assembling them into useful aggregates and materials. Here we describe a method for assembling colloidal gold nanoparticles rationally and reversibly into macroscopic aggregates. The method involves attaching to the surfaces of two batches of 13-nm gold particles non-complementary DNA oligonucleotides capped with thiol groups, which bind to gold. When we add to the solution an oligonucleotide duplex with 'sticky ends' that are complementary to the two grafted sequences, the nanoparticles self-assemble into aggregates. This assembly process can be reversed by thermal denaturation. This strategy should now make it possible to tailor the optical, electronic and structural properties of the colloidal aggregates by using the specificity of DNA interactions to direct the interactions between particles of different size and composition.
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            Primer-directed enzymatic amplification of DNA with a thermostable DNA polymerase.

            A thermostable DNA polymerase was used in an in vitro DNA amplification procedure, the polymerase chain reaction. The enzyme, isolated from Thermus aquaticus, greatly simplifies the procedure and, by enabling the amplification reaction to be performed at higher temperatures, significantly improves the specificity, yield, sensitivity, and length of products that can be amplified. Single-copy genomic sequences were amplified by a factor of more than 10 million with very high specificity, and DNA segments up to 2000 base pairs were readily amplified. In addition, the method was used to amplify and detect a target DNA molecule present only once in a sample of 10(5) cells.
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              Organization of 'nanocrystal molecules' using DNA.

              Patterning matter on the nanometre scale is an important objective of current materials chemistry and physics. It is driven by both the need to further miniaturize electronic components and the fact that at the nanometre scale, materials properties are strongly size-dependent and thus can be tuned sensitively. In nanoscale crystals, quantum size effects and the large number of surface atoms influence the, chemical, electronic, magnetic and optical behaviour. 'Top-down' (for example, lithographic) methods for nanoscale manipulation reach only to the upper end of the nanometre regime; but whereas 'bottom-up' wet chemical techniques allow for the preparation of mono-disperse, defect-free crystallites just 1-10 nm in size, ways to control the structure of nanocrystal assemblies are scarce. Here we describe a strategy for the synthesis of 'nanocrystal molecules', in which discrete numbers of gold nanocrystals are organized into spatially defined structures based on Watson-Crick base-pairing interactions. We attach single-stranded DNA oligonucleotides of defined length and sequence to individual nanocrystals, and these assemble into dimers and trimers on addition of a complementary single-stranded DNA template. We anticipate that this approach should allow the construction of more complex two- and three-dimensional assemblies.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                JMACEP
                J. Mater. Chem.
                J. Mater. Chem.
                Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC)
                0959-9428
                1364-5501
                2009
                2009
                : 19
                : 10
                : 1353-1380
                Article
                10.1039/B808030E
                © 2009
                Product
                Self URI (article page): http://xlink.rsc.org/?DOI=B808030E

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