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Deoxyribonucleic Acid Functionalized with Gold Nanoparticles: A Golden Route to Molecular Biology

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Understanding the molecular processes such as DNA replication, transcription, translation and gene regulation has been the focus of biological research for several decades. Abberations in the above processes form the basis of several diseases and hence their study is of paramount importance. Gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) possess several unique properties, however it is their surface plasmon resonance (SPR) in the 520–550 nm region that make them ideal candidates for molecular biology research. Several assays are based on the red-purple color change observed upon AuNP aggregation. The DNA is a unique biomolecule in its ability to replicate, bind to complementary strands and show sequence-specific interactions with proteins. Using several functionalization chemistries, AuNP surfaces have been coated with DNA strands. This simple construct has been used as a gene probe and more recently to study DNA-protein interactions. Optimization of parameters such as particle size, coverage of DNA strands on the AuNP surface, length of the DNA has attracted a lot of attention recently to push the boundaries of sensitivity of the DNA-AuNP based assays. These assays are simple and procedures such as gel electrophoresis, visual detection or microscopy are the prime requisites in almost all cases. In this review, we present the applications of DNA functionalized with AuNPs in molecular biology and various strategies underlying them.
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Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: 2011-06-01

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  • Bionanoscience attempts to harness various functions of biological macromolecules and integrate them with engineering for technological applications. It is based on a bottom-up approach and encompasses structural biology, biomacromolecular engineering, material science, and engineering, extending the horizon of material science. The journal aims at publication of (i) Letters (ii) Reviews (3) Concepts (4) Rapid communications (5) Research papers (6) Book reviews (7) Conference announcements in the interface between chemistry, physics, biology, material science, and technology. The use of biological macromolecules as sensors, biomaterials, information storage devices, biomolecular arrays, molecular machines is significantly increasing. The traditional disciplines of chemistry, physics, and biology are overlapping and coalescing with nanoscale science and technology. Currently research in this area is scattered in different journals and this journal seeks to bring them under a single umbrella to ensure highest quality peer-reviewed research for rapid dissemination in areas that are in the forefront of science and technology which is witnessing phenomenal and accelerated growth.
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