Conference on DNA Computing Liveblog 8

DNA_poreFriedrich Simmel showed recent work in functional nanochannels produced using hydrophobically-modified DNA. They are big and leaky but they work! They insert themselves into a membrane and make a big channel. Simmel also talked about hydrophobic folding of origami. That is really interesting from a protein folding perspective. It is not programmable like base-pairing, but it is orthogonal to base pairing and might be versatile in other contextx. They also made droplets and put a chemical reaction network oscillator inside. Evidently, sometimes, small droplets can oscillate but not larger ones. I would like to explore why that is in more detail. It certainly looks great.

Ned Seeman. Everyone in the field knows Ned Seeman’s contribution. The great vision was to use hexamer scaffolds extending in wide, repeating units to stabilize other crystals. He put the kibosh on that. It turns out that almost everything you might include in such a network destabilized it. But it did end up working and it did make some neat structures. Really, the Seeman group pioneered the structural DNA design idea. He also talked about Alex Rich in 1956 inventing hybridization, of which I had no prior knowledge.

John Spence talked about how X-ray lasers can be used for structural and dynamic biology. The system takes destructive snapshots and averages them (since each snapshot uses so much X-ray radiation that the molecules are destroyed in the process). Nonetheless, this can build up an average picture. If you do pulse-delay experiments, you can get a time-resolved movie of a molecular process. Very cool.