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1.  Helix control in polymers 
Artificial DNA, PNA & XNA  2012;3(2):31-44.
The helix is a critical conformation exhibited by biological macromolecules and plays a key role in fundamental biological processes. Biological helical polymers exist in a single helical sense arising from the chiral effect of their primary units—for example, DNA and proteins adopt predominantly a right-handed helix conformation in response to the asymmetric conformational propensity of D-sugars and L-amino acids, respectively. In using these homochiral systems, nature blocks our observations of some fascinating aspects of the cooperativity in helical systems, although when useful for a specific purpose, “wrong” enantiomers may be incorporated in specific places. In synthetic helical systems, on the contrary, incorporation of non-racemic chirality is an additional burden, and the findings discussed in this review show that this burden may be considerably alleviated by taking advantage of the amplification of chirality, in which small chiral influences lead to large consequences. Peptide nucleic acid (PNA), which is a non-chiral synthetic DNA mimic, shows a cooperative response to a small chiral effect induced by a chiral amino acid, which is limited, however, due to the highly flexible nature of this oligomeric chimera. The lack of internal stereochemical bias is an important factor which makes PNA an ideal system to understand some cooperative features that are not directly accessible from DNA.
doi:10.4161/adna.20572
PMCID: PMC3429529  PMID: 22772039
helix control; chiral amplification; cooperativity; helical polymers; PNA
2.  Molecular computing by PNA:PNA duplex formation 
Artificial DNA, PNA & XNA  2011;2(1):16-22.
Molecular computing is potentially one of the most powerful tools for the development of massive parallel computing protocols. In the present paper, a first example of the use of PNA:PNA interactions in molecular computing is described. A series of short PNA sequences have been designed with a four base stretch coding for variables and solutions. Hybridization of the components in different combinations was tested both in solution and in a microarray format. A series of PNA representing the solutions were spotted on a microarray surface in order to simulate the hardware. A series of PNA representing the variables, labeled with TAMRA, were used to interrogate the device enabling to solve non-deterministic logic operations. The system was shown to be able to solve a two-variable equation with a high signal to noise ratio. This paper intends to provide a proof of principle that PNA, on account of their stability and specificity of binding, are most suitable for constructing organic-type computers.
doi:10.4161/adna.2.1.15459
PMCID: PMC3116582  PMID: 21686248
molecular computing; SAT problem; PNA:PNA; microarray; fluorescence

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