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Construction and 3-D Computer Modeling of Connector Arrays with Tetragonal to Decagonal Transition Induced by pRNA of phi29 DNA-Packaging Motor

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The bottom-up assembly of patterned arrays is an exciting and important area in current nanotechnology. Arrays can be engineered to serve as components in chips for a virtually inexhaustible list of applications ranging from disease diagnosis to ultrahigh-density data storage. In attempting to achieve this goal, a number of methods to facilitate array design and production have been developed. Cloning and expression of the gene coding for the connector of the bacterial virus phi29 DNA-packaging motor, overproduction of the gene products, and the in vitro construction of large-scale carpet-like arrays composed of connector are described in this report. The stability of the arrays under various conditions, including varied pH, temperature and ionic strength, was tested. The addition of packaging RNA (pRNA) into the array caused a dramatic shift in array structure, and resulted in the conversion of tetragonal arrays into larger decagonal structures comprised of both protein and RNA. RNase digestion confirmed that the conformational shift was caused by pRNA, and that RNA was present in the decagons. As has been demonstrated in biomotors, conformational shift of motor components can generate force for motor motion. The conformational shift reported here can be utilized as a potential force-generating mechanism for the construction of nanomachines. Three-dimensional computer models of the constructed arrays were also produced using a variety of connector building blocks with or without the N- or C-terminal sequence, which is absent from the current published crystal structures. Both the connector array and the decagon are ideal candidates to be used as templates to build patterned suprastructures in nanotechnology.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2005-06-01

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  • Journal for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (JNN) is an international and multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal with a wide-ranging coverage, consolidating research activities in all areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology into a single and unique reference source. JNN is the first cross-disciplinary journal to publish original full research articles, rapid communications of important new scientific and technological findings, timely state-of-the-art reviews with author's photo and short biography, and current research news encompassing the fundamental and applied research in all disciplines of science, engineering and medicine.
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