Progress towards visualizing the controlled assembly of gold nanoparticles on DNA
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Our laboratory has used the 1,4,5,8 Naphthalenetetracarboxylic diimine (NDI) unit to develop threading polyintercalators that bind DNA with the NDI units intercalated in between GpG steps and two different peptide linkers, which connect the NDI units, situated in either the major or minor grooves. The first generation bisintercalators, G₃K and [beta]Ala₃K, were shown to bind two different sequences of DNA, where the peptide linkers reside in the major and minor grooves respectively. These binding modules were then combined to generate threading polyintercalators that bound different DNA sequences with simultaneous occupation of both grooves. In particular, a cyclic bisintercalator was designed and DNAse I footprinting revealed a strong preference for the sequence 5'-GGTACC-3'. NMR structural studies of the complex with d(CGGTACCG)₂ verified a pseudocatenane structure in which the NDI units reside four base pairs apart, with one linker located in the minor groove and the other in the major groove. This was the first structurally well-characterized pseudocatenane complex between a sequence-specific cyclic bisintercalator and its preferred binding sequence. The ability to simultaneously occupy both groves of the same sequence is interesting for several reasons. Most significantly, it raises questions about a complex DNA intercalator's ability to locate its preferred sequence within a long strand of DNA. In order to directly assess this, the intercalator was modified (CBI-Cys) to incorporate a gold nanoparticle probe to allow for the direct visualization of the intercalator locating its preferred sequence within a long DNA strand. The appropriate protocols to visualize DNA using electron and atomic force microscopy were unsuccessful; however, the foundation has been set for future work to develop the appropriate method to determine the mechanism by which the cyclic bisintercalator locates its preferred sequence. Additionally, the bisintercalators developed in our laboratory offered a unique opportunity to exploit their sequence specificity for controlled nanoparticle assembly. Over the past decade, nanoparticles and DNA have been used to develop novel nanoparticle assembly systems with the goal of developing electronic devices and nanomaterials. The G₃K bisintercalator was synthetically modified to incorporate a gold nanoparticle probe. This intercalator-nanoparticle conjugate, BisKC·Au, maintained its binding specificity (5'-GGTACC-3') to a modified DNA fragment containing multiple G₃K binding sites. The atomic force microscope has become the most promising tool in visualizing individual DNA molecules. A modified procedure utilized APS to allow for the direct visualizing of plasmid DNA. The framework is now in place to confirm the controlled assembly of the gold nanoparticles. This protocol can then be used for the [beta]Ala₃K bisintercalator to lead to the development of a nanoparticle assembly system that can precisely control the organization of multiple types of nanoparticles.