New technique that dissolves DNA in organic solvents advances the use of DNA in nanotechnology -
The team used an analytical technique called circular dichroism to show that a series of PEG-modified DNA structures called G-quadruplexes retain their shape in the organic solvents. Other teams had successfully dissolved DNA in an organic solvent by simply pre-mixing it with another non-polar substance, but the process caused the DNA to lose its folded shape. The PEG-modification allowed the DNA structure to remain intact in organic solvents. Surprisingly, one of the PEG-modified G-quadruplex structures tested proved to be more stable in organic solvents than in water.
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Journal article: Structure formation and catalytic activity of DNA dissolved in organic solvents. Angewandte Chemie International, 2012 http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/anie.201201111
Pictured: DNA, usually only dissolvable in water, is modified with a polyethylene glycol (PEG) side chain (left) and dissolved in a typical laboratory organic solvent, 1,2-dichloroethane (right). Credit: 2012 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim