Monday, September 23, 2013
4:00 pm
Beckman Institute Auditorium

Special Bioengineering Seminar

"Synthetic biology using DNA: Sequence, Shape & Function"
Hendrik Dietz, Associate Professor of Experimental Biophysics, TUM Laboratory for Biomolecular Nanotechnology

Many processes in biology rely fundamentally on the relative position and orientation of interacting molecules.  It is notoriously difficult to observe, let alone control, the position and orientation of molecules because of their small size and the constant thermal fluctuations that they experience in solution.  DNA self-assembly provides a route for placing molecules and constraining their fluctuations in user-defined ways, opening attractive avenues for scientific and technological exploration.  In my talk I will provide three lines of evidence for this statement.

Positional Control: I will present a high-resolution 3D cryo-electron microscopy structure of a DNA-based object that is twice the size of a prokaryotic ribosome, with structural order comparable to that found in proteins.

Practical Assembly: I will show that, at constant temperature, hundreds of DNA strands can cooperatively fold long template DNA strands into complex nanoscale objects with yields that approach 100% in just minutes.

Application: I will present synthetic lipid membrane channels, created from self-assembled DNA structures, which demonstrate electrophysiological features similar to natural ion channels such as conductances on the order of 1 nanosiemens and channel gating.

Contact Linda Scott scottl@caltech.edu at ext. 4389
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