The biophysical properties of DNA suggest its use for applications beyond serving as the genetic material. Several recent reports describe the use of covalently attached double-stranded DNA for controlling the structures of other macromolecules such as protein and RNA. These exploitations of DNA rigidity are conceptually distinct from many other studies in the area of "DNA nanotechnology". Double-stranded DNA constraints provide a means of introducing selective tension onto other molecules. This should facilitate fundamental investigations of macromolecular folding landscapes and tertiary interactions, as well as allow study of the mechanotransduction of biochemical signals. Use of a DNA constraint as the key element of a sensor has already been demonstrated, and such applications will be enhanced by improvements in the signal readout methods. If practical challenges such as delivery and stability can be addressed, these new efforts may also enable development of selective sensors for in vivo applications.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology