by Brooks Hays
Washington (UPI) May 25, 2017
New research has allowed scientists to detail the relationship between water molecules and DNA, a breakthrough for biochemistry.
The adult human body is 60 percent water. It's essential. But how water interacts with biological systems isn't always clear. The latest study -- published in the American Chemical Society journal Central Science -- promises to illuminate water's biochemical importance.
"If you want to understand reactivity and biology, then it's not just water on its own," Poul Petersen, assistant professor of chemistry and chemical biology at Cornell University, said in a news release. "You want to understand water around stuff, and how it interacts with the stuff. And particularly with biology, you want to understand how it behaves around biological material -- like protein and DNA."
Using a novel imaging technique, Petersen and his colleagues discovered a superstructure of water molecules surrounding DNA. Researchers dubbed the structure "DNA's chiral spine of hydration."
Chirality is a type of asymmetry. Chiral patterns can be distinguished from their mirror image. Most biomolecules are chiral.
The imaging method developed by Petersen and his research partners is called chiral sum frequency generation spectroscopy, or SFG. The method involves a pair of photon beams, one infrared and one visible, trained on a target sample. The converged beams produce an SFG beam, which can be manipulated to reveal the structures of water molecules.
"The techniques we have developed provide a new avenue to study DNA hydration, as well as other supramolecular chiral structures," Petersen said.
Researchers say their discovery of DNA's chiral spine of hydration is less revelatory than their breakthrough imaging technique, which will allow scientists to observe the function of water in a variety of biological systems.
"Certainly, chemical engineers who are designing biomimetic systems and looking at biology and trying to find applications such as water filtration would care about this," Petersen said.
London, UK (SPX) May 26, 2017
A single process for how a group of molecules called nucleotides were made on the early Earth, before life began, has been suggested by a UCL-led team of researchers. Nucleotides are essential to all life on Earth as they form the building blocks of DNA or RNA, and understanding how they were first made is a long-standing challenge that must be resolved to elucidate the origins of life. ... read more
Lands Beyond Beyond - extra solar planets - news and science
Life Beyond Earth
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|