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当前位置: Science » 分子 » Science:“单分子俄罗斯方块”可让科学家在纳米尺度上观察DNA


摘要 : 物理学家用类似于一款经典电子游戏的技术观察到了纳米尺度的DNA,他们称这项技术为“单分子俄罗斯方块”。

 物理学家用类似于一款经典电子游戏的技术观察到了纳米尺度的DNA,他们称这项技术为“单分子俄罗斯方块”。该方法使用了一个充满微小孔道和空腔的装置,DNA分子在上面进进出出,形成我们熟悉的俄罗斯方块形状,例如L形、方块、Z形(插图:红色的DNA分子占据四个空腔形成Z形)。在这些链状分子弯曲或跳跃成不同的形状时,研究者可以通过这些信息测量DNA分子的两个独特特性——宽度和受限自由能,即它的熵。这里,熵取决于分子能量有多少种分布方式。具体说来,它与该分子在保持两端距离不变的情况下能形成的不同形状数目有关。科学家收集了相关数据,展现DNA在这些空腔中的精确状态,这一成果发表在这个月的Macromolecules上。在这么小的尺度上实现这一点非常困难,这种 “单分子俄罗斯方块”技术可以帮助生物学家改善基因组测序,以便从这些微小的DNA封闭位里得到有价值的遗传信息。


'Single-molecule Tetris' allows scientists to observe DNA at the nanoscale


Physicists are using a technique reminiscent of a classic video game to observe DNA on the nanoscale. They call it “single-molecule Tetris.” The approach consists of a device filled with tiny channels and cavities that DNA molecules can move in and out of, resulting in some of the familiar Tetris shapes, like the “L,” the square, and the zigzag (illustrated above: a DNA molecule, in red, occupies four cavities in a zigzag). As the chainlike molecules bend or jump into different shapes, researchers use that information to measure two very specific characteristics of DNA molecules—the width and the confined free energy, or entropy of the molecule. Here, entropy relates to how many ways the energy of the molecule can be arranged. Physically, it correlates to the different shapes the molecule can take while maintaining the same distance between its two ends. Scientists collected data, published this month in Macromolecules, on these parameters to show the precise conditions under which DNA can be trapped in the cavities. It’s a feat that’s extremely difficult to do on such a minute scale, but thanks to single-molecule Tetris, these physicists now have results that could help biologists improve genome sequencing and tease out valuable genetic information from these tiny, confined bits of DNA.

来源: Science 浏览次数:0


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