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Nucleic acid hairpins provide a powerful model system for understanding macromolecular folding, with free-energy landscapes that can be readily manipulated by changing the hairpin sequence. The full shapes of energy landscapes for the reversible folding of DNA hairpins under controlled loads exerted by an optical force clamp were obtained by deconvolution… (More)
We developed molecular tension probes (TPs) that report traction forces of adherent cells with high spatial resolution, can in principle be linked to virtually any surface, and obviate monitoring deformations of elastic substrates. TPs consist of DNA hairpins conjugated to fluorophore-quencher pairs that unfold and fluoresce when subjected to specific… (More)
RNA folding is enabled by interactions between the nucleic acid and its ion atmosphere, the mobile sheath of aqueous ions that surrounds and stabilizes it. Understanding the ion atmosphere requires the interplay of experiment and theory. However, even an apparently simple experiment to probe the ion atmosphere, measuring the dependence of DNA duplex… (More)
Riboswitches are motifs in the untranslated regions (UTRs) of RNA transcripts that sense metabolite levels and modulate the expression of the corresponding genes for metabolite import, export, synthesis, or degradation. All riboswitches contain an aptamer: an RNA structure that, upon binding ligand, folds to expose or sequester regulatory elements in the… (More)
Interdisciplinary work in the life sciences at the boundaries of biology, chemistry and physics is making enormous strides. This progress was showcased at the recent Single Molecule Biophysics conference.
Biophysical applications ranging from fluorescence microassays to single-molecule microscopy are increasingly dependent on automated nanoscale positional control and stability. A whirlwind of motion-industry innovation has resulted in an array of new motion options offering significant improvements in application performance, reproducibility and throughput.… (More)