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Single DNA Conformations and Biological Function

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From a nanoscience perspective, cellular processes and their reduced in vitro imitations provide extraordinary examples for highly robust few or single molecule reaction pathways. A prime example are biochemical reactions involving DNA molecules, and the coupling of these reactions to the physical conformations of DNA. In this review, we summarise recent results on the following phenomena: We investigate the biophysical properties of DNA-looping and the equilibrium configurations of DNA-knots, whose relevance to biological processes are increasingly appreciated. We discuss how random DNA-looping may be related to the efficiency of the target search process of proteins for their specific binding site on the DNA molecule. And we dwell on the spontaneous formation of intermittent DNA nanobubbles and their importance for biological processes, such as transcription initiation. The physical properties of DNA may indeed turn out to be particularly suitable for the use of DNA in nanosensing applications.
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Keywords: DNA; DNA DENATURATION; DNA LOOPING; GENE REGULATION; KNOTS; SINGLE MOLECULES

Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: 01 February 2007

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  • Journal of Computational and Theoretical Nanoscience is an international peer-reviewed journal with a wide-ranging coverage, consolidates research activities in all aspects of computational and theoretical nanoscience into a single reference source. This journal offers scientists and engineers peer-reviewed research papers in all aspects of computational and theoretical nanoscience and nanotechnology in chemistry, physics, materials science, engineering and biology to publish original full papers and timely state-of-the-art reviews and short communications encompassing the fundamental and applied research.
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