Dr. Soma Dhakal
Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) – Department of Chemistry
Friday, March 26, 2021
HOST: Dr. Deepak Koirala
“Seeing is believing: Single-molecule protein-DNA interactions and sensing”
Knowledge of how DNA interacts with other biomolecules is not only crucial for understanding the biological processes but also essential for the development of sensors, detection of diseases, designing new drugs, and many more. With these applications in mind, the advancements of single-molecule techniques such as fluorescence microscopy and optical tweezers have enabled real-time measurement of biomechanics, binding interactions, and conformational dynamics of protein-nucleic acid complexes at unprecedented details. Inspired by the various ways the DNA can interact with other biomolecules while still maintaining specificity, we have been creating novel molecular platforms suitable for mechanistic studies of protein-DNA interactions and implementing them for potential biotechnology applications. The first part of the presentation will highlight our recent studies on protein-DNA interactions pertaining to homologous recombination (HR), a paramount biological process for repairing double-strand DNA breaks. The second part of the presentation will highlight our recent developments of various DNA platforms for multiplexed detection of nucleic acid biomarkers and conformational analysis of DNA secondary structures, all at the single-molecule level. Overall, this presentation will highlight interesting applications of single-molecule approaches from investigating biomolecular interactions to development of sensors and conformational analysis of 3D DNA structures.