Reproducible measurement of single-molecule conductivity.
A reliable method has been developed for making through-bond electrical contacts to molecules. Current-voltage curves are quantized as integer multiples of one fundamental curve, an observation used to identify single-molecule contacts. The resistance of a single octanedithiol molecule was 900 +/- 50 megohms, based on measurements on more than 1000 single molecules. In contrast, nonbonded contacts to octanethiol monolayers were at least four orders of magnitude more resistive, less reproducible, and had a different voltage dependence, demonstrating that the measurement of intrinsic molecular properties requires chemically bonded contacts. (+info)
In vitro assembly of R-phycoerythrin from marine red alga Polysiphonia urceolata.
Scanning tunneling microscope was used to investigate the in vitro assembly of R-phycoerythrin (R-PE) from the marine red alga Polysiphonia urceolata. The results showed that R-PE molecules assembled together by disc-to-disc while absorbing on HOPG surface, which just looked like the rods in the phycobilisomes. When the water-soluble R-PE was dissolved in 2% ethanol/water spreading solution, they could form monolayer film at the air/water interface. Similar disc-to-disc array of R-PE was constituted in the two-dimensional Langmuir-Blodgett film by the external force. It could be concluded that, apart from the key role of the linker polypeptides, the in vivo assembly of phycobiliproteins into phycobilisomes is also dependent on the endogenous properties of phycobiliprotein themselves. (+info)
Positioning protein molecules on surfaces: a nanoengineering approach to supramolecular chemistry.
We discuss a nanoengineering approach for supramolecular chemistry and self assembly. The collective properties and biofunctionalities of molecular ensembles depend not only on individual molecular building blocks but also on organization at the molecular or nanoscopic level. Complementary to "bottom-up" approaches, which construct supramolecular ensembles by the design and synthesis of functionalized small molecular units or large molecular motifs, nanofabrication explores whether individual units, such as small molecular ligands, or large molecules, such as proteins, can be positioned with nanometer precision. The separation and local environment can be engineered to control subsequent intermolecular interactions. Feature sizes as small as 2 x 4 nm(2) (32 alkanethiol molecules) are produced. Proteins may be aligned along a 10-nm-wide line or within two-dimensional islands of desired geometry. These high-resolution engineering and imaging studies provide new and molecular-level insight into supramolecular chemistry and self-assembly processes in bioscience that are otherwise unobtainable, e.g., the influence of size, separation, orientation, and local environment of reaction sites. This nanofabrication methodology also offers a new strategy in construction of two- and three-dimensional supramolecular structures for cell, virus, and bacterial adhesion, as well as biomaterial and biodevice engineering. (+info)
Molecular cloning and characterization of a group II chaperonin delta-subunit from soybean.
Molecular characterization of plant group II chaperonin (CCT, c-cpn, or TriC) still remains elusive. By PCR-based cloning techniques using soybeans, we have made a successful attempt to clone a delta-subunit homologue of CCT (CCTdelta). This subunit is responsible for the binding of an in vivo substrate, alpha-actin, by assisting the correct folding of the cytoskeletal protein in mouse, and the occurrence of the subunit homologue in plant CCT was unclear. As the cloning strategy, a putative amino acid segment, NH(2)-Gly-Gly-Gly-Ala-Pro-Glu-COOH, which is tightly conserved in all known animal and yeast CCTdelta subunits, was chosen for designing a degenerate primer of the PCR-cloning. The resultant 1881-bp cDNA was found to have an open-reading frame of 533 amino acids with a calculated molecular mass of 57,677 Da and to share about 58-65% identity overall at the amino acid level with the corresponding subunits known to date. Using antibodies raised against Escherichia coli-produced soybean insoluble CCTdelta as a monitoring tool, we purified soybean CCT from the extract of its immature seeds. STEM images demonstrated that the molecular shape of soybean CCT is a double eight-membered ring, which resembles the known group II chaperonins. The CCT also reactivated a denatured firefly luciferase with a significant, but limited level of the native enzymic activity in an in vitro system. Northern blot analysis showed that soybean CCTdelta gene, which is intronless and composed of a small family, was only expressed at a very early stage of seed development of soybean. (+info)
Atomic force microscopy of single- and double-stranded DNA.
A method has been developed for imaging single-stranded DNA with the atomic force microscope (AFM). phi X174 single-stranded DNA in formaldehyde on mica can be imaged in the AFM under propanol or butanol or in air. Measured lengths of most molecules are on the order of 1 mu, although occasionally more extended molecules with lengths of 1.7 to 1.9 mu are seen. Single-stranded DNA in the AFM generally appears lumpier than double-stranded DNA, even when extended. Images of double-stranded lambda DNA in the AFM show more sharp kinks and bends than are typically observed in the electron microscope. Dense, aggregated fields of double-stranded plasmids can be converted by gentle rinsing with hot water to well spread fields. (+info)
Scanning tunneling microscopy imaging of Torpedo acetylcholine receptor.
The synaptic surface of the acetylcholine receptor in membranes from Torpedo californica electric organ has been imaged by scanning tunneling microscopy. The molecule appears pentameric, with one major and four minor protrusions rising above the surface, and these protrusions encompass a large central cavity. The outer diameter of the molecule is 69 +/- 10 A, while the diameter of the cavity, measured at the widest complete contour line delimiting the opening, is 26 +/- 7 A. The images and dimensions obtained are consistent with the structure determined from hybrid density maps obtained by x-ray diffraction and electron microscopy. Thus, scanning tunneling microscopy can be used to obtain overall dimensions and low-resolution structural features of the surface of a membrane-embedded protein. (+info)
Immobilization of DNA for scanning probe microscopy.
Reproducible scanning tunneling microscope and atomic force microscope images of entire molecules of uncoated plasmid DNA chemically bound to surfaces are presented. The chemically mediated immobilization of DNA to surfaces and subsequent scanning tunneling microscope imaging of DNA molecules demonstrate that the problem of molecular instability to forces exerted by the probe tip, inherent with scanning probe microscopes, can be prevented. (+info)
Revealing the hidden atom in graphite by low-temperature atomic force microscopy.
Carbon, the backbone material of life on Earth, comes in three modifications: diamond, graphite, and fullerenes. Diamond develops tetrahedral sp3 bonds, forming a cubic crystal structure, whereas graphite and fullerenes are characterized by planar sp2 bonds. Polycrystalline graphite is the basis for many products of everyday life: pencils, lubricants, batteries, arc lamps, and brushes for electric motors. In crystalline form, highly oriented pyrolytic graphite is used as a diffracting element in monochromators for x-ray and neutron scattering and as a calibration standard for scanning tunneling microscopy (STM). The graphite surface is easily prepared as a clean atomically flat surface by cleavage. This feature is attractive and is used in many laboratories as the surface of choice for "seeing atoms." Despite the proverbial ease of imaging graphite by STM with atomic resolution, every second atom in the hexagonal surface unit cell remains hidden, and STM images show only a single atom in the unit cell. Here we present measurements with a low-temperature atomic force microscope with pico-Newton force sensitivity that reveal the hidden surface atom. (+info)