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Functional DNA nanomaterials

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The discovery of DNA helical structure opened the door of modern molecular biology. Ned Seeman utilized DNA as building block to construct different nanoscale materials, and introduced a new field, know as DNA nanotechnology. After several decades of development, different

The discovery of DNA helical structure opened the door of modern molecular biology. Ned Seeman utilized DNA as building block to construct different nanoscale materials, and introduced a new field, know as DNA nanotechnology. After several decades of development, different DNA structures had been created, with different dimension, different morphology and even with complex curvatures. In addition, after construction of enough amounts DNA structure candidates, DNA structure template, with excellent spatial addressability, had been used to direct the assembly of different nanomaterials, including nanoparticles and proteins, to produce different functional nanomaterials. However there are still many challenges to fabricate functional DNA nanostructures. The first difficulty is that the present finite sized template dimension is still very small, usually smaller than 100nm, which will limit the application for large amount of nanomaterials assembly or large sized nanomaterials assembly. Here we tried to solve this problem through developing a new method, superorigami, to construct finite sized DNA structure with much larger dimension, which can be as large as 500nm. The second problem will be explored the ability of DNA structure to assemble inorganic nanomaterials for novel photonic or electronic properties. Here we tried to utilize DNA Origami method to assemble AuNPs with controlled 3D spacial position for possible chiral photonic complex. We also tried to assemble SWNT with discrete length for possible field effect transistor device. In addition, we tried to mimic in vivo compartment with DNA structure to study internalized enzyme behavior. From our results, constructed DNA cage origami can protect encapsulated enzyme from degradation, and internalized enzyme activity can be boosted for up to 10 folds. In summary, DNA structure can serve as an ideal template for construction of functional nanomaterials with lots of possibilities to be explored.

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2013

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Replication of DNA tetrahedron and higher-order self-assembly of DNA origami

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Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) has been treated as excellent building material for nanoscale construction because of its unique structural features. Its ability to self-assemble into predictable and addressable nanostructures distinguishes it from other materials. A large variety of DNA nanostructures have

Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) has been treated as excellent building material for nanoscale construction because of its unique structural features. Its ability to self-assemble into predictable and addressable nanostructures distinguishes it from other materials. A large variety of DNA nanostructures have been constructed, providing scaffolds with nanometer precision to organize functional molecules. This dissertation focuses on developing biologically replicating DNA nanostructures to explore their biocompatibility for potential functions in cells, as well as studying the molecular behaviors of DNA origami tiles in higher-order self-assembly for constructing DNA nanostructures with large size and complexity. Presented here are a series of studies towards this goal. First, a single-stranded DNA tetrahedron was constructed and replicated in vivo with high efficiency and fidelity. This study indicated the compatibility between DNA nanostructures and biological systems, and suggested a feasible low-coast method to scale up the preparation of synthetic DNA. Next, the higher-order self-assembly of DNA origami tiles was systematically studied. It was demonstrated that the dimensional aspect ratio of origami tiles as well as the intertile connection design were essential in determining the assembled superstructures. Finally, the effects of DNA hairpin loops on the conformations of origami tiles as well as the higher-order assembled structures were demonstrated. The results would benefit the design and construction of large complex nanostructures.

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2012

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Mechanistic studies of one-electron reduced bipyridine reactions relevant to carbon dioxide sequestration

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Increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will inevitably lead to long-term changes in climate that can have serious consequences. Controlling anthropogenic emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, however, represents a significant technological challenge. Various chemical approaches have

Increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will inevitably lead to long-term changes in climate that can have serious consequences. Controlling anthropogenic emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, however, represents a significant technological challenge. Various chemical approaches have been suggested, perhaps the most promising of these is based on electrochemical trapping of carbon dioxide using pyridine and derivatives. Optimization of this process requires a detailed understanding of the mechanisms of the reactions of reduced pyridines with carbon dioxide, which are not currently well known. This thesis describes a detailed mechanistic study of the nucleophilic and Bronsted basic properties of the radical anion of bipyridine as a model pyridine derivative, formed by one-electron reduction, with particular emphasis on the reactions with carbon dioxide. A time-resolved spectroscopic method was used to characterize the key intermediates and determine the kinetics of the reactions of the radical anion and its protonated radical form. Using a pulsed nanosecond laser, the bipyridine radical anion could be generated in-situ in less than 100 ns, which allows fast reactions to be monitored in real time. The bipyridine radical anion was found to be a very powerful one-electron donor, Bronsted base and nucleophile. It reacts by addition to the C=O bonds of ketones with a bimolecular rate constant around 1* 107 M-1 s-1. These are among the fastest nucleophilic additions that have been reported in literature. Temperature dependence studies demonstrate very low activation energies and large Arrhenius pre-exponential parameters, consistent with very high reactivity. The kinetics of E2 elimination, where the radical anion acts as a base, and SN2 substitution, where the radical anion acts as a nucleophile, are also characterized by large bimolecular rate constants in the range ca. 106 - 107 M-1 s-1. The pKa of the bipyridine radical anion was measured using a kinetic method and analysis of the data using a Marcus theory model for proton transfer. The bipyridine radical anion is found to have a pKa of 40±5 in DMSO. The reorganization energy for the proton transfer reaction was found to be 70±5 kJ/mol. The bipyridine radical anion was found to react very rapidly with carbon dioxide, with a bimolecular rate constant of 1* 108 M-1 s-1 and a small activation energy, whereas the protonated radical reacted with carbon dioxide with a rate constant that was too small to measure. The kinetic and thermodynamic data obtained in this work can be used to understand the mechanisms of the reactions of pyridines with carbon dioxide under reducing conditions.

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2015