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Monday, 21 December, 2009

DNA under voltage

Molecules detach from surfaces at the push of a button


With its extremely fine pinpoint, an atomic force miscroscope (AFM) can pick up and analyze a single molecule. This feature was used by biophysicists of the excellence cluster Nanosystems Initiative Munich (NIM), at the chair of Professor Hermann Gaub at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, in order to determine how firmly DNA molecules stick to certain surfaces. In doing so, the scientists realized that voltage can have an effect on whether a molecule sticks to a surface or is repelled. Thus the interaction between a surface and DNA molecules can be controlled by the push of a button, which is an interesting prospect for many methods used in bioanalytics. This voltage-dependent adhesion does not only apply to DNA molecules, but also to other biopolymers, such as proteins or polysaccharides. (...)

Original publication (Nature Nanotechnology)

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