"PNA2-DNA2 hybrid quadruplexes are extremely stable, suggesting that if we use PNAs to bind with DNA quadruplexes that regulate gene expression, we could prevent disease processes in which these DNA quadruplexes appear to play a role," says Bruce Armitage, Ph.D., associate professor of chemistry at Carnegie Mellon. "PNAs also could be converted into biosensors by coupling them with fluorescent tags that would allow the PNA to report the presence of a successful hybridization to quadruplex-forming sequences either in the genome or in messenger RNA molecules."
"In addition to a new high-affinity DNA recognition mechanism and expanding the scope of molecular recognition by PNA, the PNA2-DNA2 hybrid quadruplex is the first example of homologous hybridization," adds Armitage.
PNA2-DNA2 hybrid quadruplexes, which assume a rod-like structure, could also prove important in nanotechnology applications, such as building a nanoscale bridge to conduct electrical charges or a precisely controlled structural component of a biosynthetic material.
Normally, DNA occurs as the well-known double helix first proposed by James Watson and Francis Crick 50 years ago. Each strand of the helix consists of a backbone of sugar-phosphate groups linked to nucleobases, whi
Contact: Lauren Ward
Carnegie Mellon University