Journal Article

Lighting up left-handed Z-DNA: photoluminescent carbon dots induce DNA B to Z transition and perform DNA logic operations

Lingyan Feng, Andong Zhao, Jinsong Ren and Xiaogang Qu

in Nucleic Acids Research

Volume 41, issue 16, pages 7987-7996
Published in print September 2013 | ISSN: 0305-1048
Published online June 2013 | e-ISSN: 1362-4962 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/nar/gkt575

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Left-handed Z-DNA has been identified as a transient structure occurred during transcription. DNA B-Z transition has attracted much attention because of not only Z-DNA biological importance but also their relation to disease and DNA nanotechnology. Recently, photoluminescent carbon dots, especially highly luminescent nitrogen-doped carbon dots, have attracted much attention on their applications to bioimaging and gene/drug delivery because of carbon dots with low toxicity, highly stable photoluminescence and controllable surface function. However, it is still unknown whether carbon dots can influence DNA conformation or structural transition, such as B-Z transition. Herein, based on our previous series work on DNA interactions with carbon nanotubes, we report the first example that photoluminescent carbon dots can induce right-handed B-DNA to left-handed Z-DNA under physiological salt conditions with sequence and conformation selectivity. Further studies indicate that carbon dots would bind to DNA major groove with GC preference. Inspired by carbon dots lighting up Z-DNA and DNA nanotechnology, several types of DNA logic gates have been designed and constructed based on fluorescence resonance energy transfer between photoluminescent carbon dots and DNA intercalators.

Journal Article.  5083 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Chemistry ; Biochemistry ; Bioinformatics and Computational Biology ; Genetics and Genomics ; Molecular and Cell Biology

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