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Conformational Changes of Immobilized Polythymine due to External Stressors Studied with Temperature-Controlled Electrochemical Microdevices

Published

Author(s)

Ramya Vishnubhotla, Sarah Robinson, Jon R. Askim, Christopher B. Montgomery, Kristen L. Steffens, Herman O. Sintim, Stephen Semancik

Abstract

Conformational changes of single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) play an important role in a DNA strand's ability to bind to target ligands. A variety of factors can influence conformation, including temperature, ionic strength, pH, buffer cation valency, strand length, and sequence. To better understand the effects of these factors on immobilized DNA structures, we employ temperature controlled electrochemical microsensors to study the effects of salt concentration and temperature variation on the conformation and motion of polythymine (polyT) strands of varying lengths (10, 20, 50 nucleotides). PolyT strands were tethered to a gold working electrode at the proximal end through a thiol linker via covalent bonding between the Au electrode and sulfur link, which can tend to decompose between a temperature range of 60 and 90 °C. The strands were also modified with an electrochemically active methylene blue (MB) moiety at the distal end. Electron transfer (eT) was measured by square wave voltammetry (SWV) and used to infer information pertaining to the average distance between the MB and the working electrode. We observe changes in DNA flexibility due to varying ionic strength, while the effects of increased DNA thermal motion are tracked for elevated temperatures. This work elucidates the behavior of ssDNA in the presence of a phosphate buffered saline at NaCl concentrations ranging from 20 to 1000 mmol/L through a temperature range of 10−50 °C in 1° increments, well below the decomposition temperature range. The results lay the groundwork for studies on more complex DNA strands in conjunction with different chemical and physical conditions.
Citation
Langmuir
Volume
37

Keywords

polythymine, electrochemistry, biosensors, DNA

Citation

Vishnubhotla, R. , Robinson, S. , Askim, J. , Montgomery, C. , Steffens, K. , Sintim, H. and Semancik, S. (2021), Conformational Changes of Immobilized Polythymine due to External Stressors Studied with Temperature-Controlled Electrochemical Microdevices, Langmuir, [online], https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.langmuir.0c3219, https://tsapps.nist.gov/publication/get_pdf.cfm?pub_id=931268 (Accessed April 15, 2024)
Created February 17, 2021, Updated March 1, 2023