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Publication Detail
Atomic force microscopy—A tool for structural and translational DNA research
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Authors:
    Main KHS, Provan JI, Haynes PJ, Wells G, Hartley JA, Pyne ALB
  • Publisher:
    AIP Publishing
  • Publication date:
  • Journal:
    APL Bioengineering
  • Volume:
  • Issue:
  • Article number:
  • Status:
  • Language:
  • Notes:
    © 2021 Author(s). All article content, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Atomic force microscopy (AFM) is a powerful imaging technique that allows for structural characterization of single biomolecules with nanoscale resolution. AFM has a unique capability to image biological molecules in their native states under physiological conditions without the need for labeling or averaging. DNA has been extensively imaged with AFM from early single-molecule studies of conformational diversity in plasmids, to recent examinations of intramolecular variation between groove depths within an individual DNA molecule. The ability to image dynamic biological interactions in situ has also allowed for the interaction of various proteins and therapeutic ligands with DNA to be evaluated—providing insights into structural assembly, flexibility, and movement. This review provides an overview of how innovation and optimization in AFM imaging have advanced our understanding of DNA structure, mechanics, and interactions. These include studies of the secondary and tertiary structure of DNA, including how these are affected by its interactions with proteins. The broader role of AFM as a tool in translational cancer research is also explored through its use in imaging DNA with key chemotherapeutic ligands, including those currently employed in clinical practice.
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