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January 30th, 2007
A Purdue University researcher has created a single-molecule imaging system to view deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), ribonucleic acid (RNA) and other tiny biological molecules. This ability helps settle a seven-year debate within the virology and nanomedicine fields over the shape and structure of a tiny biological motor that has potential use in nanotechnology and nanomedicine, including the diagnosis and treatment of diseases such as cancer, AIDS and influenza.
Scientists had disputed the number of packaging ribonucleic acid (pRNA) molecules contained in the DNA-packaging motor of the phi29 virus. The number of these molecules present determines the shape of the motor and expands understanding of the way it works. The new imaging system definitively concludes that six pRNA molecules were present. The research, funded by the National Institutes of Health, will be published in the upcoming issue of the European Molecular Biology Organization Journal, EMBOJ.
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