The structure of double-stranded nucleic acids has been long investigated in an effort to get insights into their functions, as well as to understand the molecular basis of the way in which different proteins carry out their replication, repair and transcription. These studies have revealed the existence of distinctive double-helix states in physiological conditions, namely, the A and the B forms for dsRNA and dsDNA, respectively. Mechanical characterizations of dsDNA at the single-molecule level in a broad palette of conditions have also been performed, including those which stabilize the so-called A-DNA. These studies have opened new avenues of research on nucleic acid-binding proteins, especially to understand from a dynamic point of view the intimate link between information processing by such molecular machines and the mechanical properties of their respective substrates.
We are interested in studying the mechanical properties of dsDNA and dsRNA at the single molecule level using AFM, and Magnetic Tweezers, and more recently with Molecular Dynamics simulations.
Want to learn more? See the topic-related papers of the group
E. Herrero-Galan et al. JACS 135(1), 122-131 (2013). Mechanical identities of RNA and DNA double helices unveiled at the single-molecule level. LINK
Hormeno et al. Biophysical Journal 100, 2006-2015 (2011). Condensation prevails over B-A transition in the structure of DNA at low humidity. LINK
Hormeno et al. Biophysical Journal 100, 1996-2006 (2011). Mechanical Properties of High GC-content DNA with A-type base-stacking. LINK