Nanopore analysis of macromolecules

David Deamer, Ph.D.
University of California, Santa Cruz 

Wednesday, July 2, 2003
Pacific Forum 3:00 p.m.

deamer72.jpg (89351 bytes)

One of the most exciting prospects to emerge recently has been that the properties of single molecules can now be investigated. We have established a novel analytical approach that permits individual molecules in solution to be studied. In this technique, single-stranded DNA and RNA molecules are driven through a nanoscopic pore by an applied electric field. As each molecule occupies the pore, a characteristic blockade of ionic current is produced. Information about length, composition, structure, and dynamic motion of the molecule can be deduced from modulations of the current blockade. The nanopore can be considered to be a single molecule biosensor, and we believe that the basic concept can be used to detect and identify macromolecules such as nucleic acid fragments and proteins as biomarkers in marine environments.

Next: A Hollywood ending for the oceans?