The changes in the DNA structure can be identified by a Chemical Nose. The Small changes in the structure of DNA have been implicated in breast cancer and other diseases, but they’ve been extremely difficult to detect.
Uc Riverside chemists said that Chemical Nose can detect the smell when bits of DNA are folded in unusual ways. Their work designing and demonstrating this system has been published in the journal Nature Chemistry.Wenwan Zhong, study author and UCR chemistry professor said that if a DNA sequence is folded, it could prevent the transcription of a gene linked to that particular piece of DNA. This could have a positive effect by silencing a gene with the potential to cause cancer or promote tumors.DNA folding could also have a negative effect.
The lead author also said that DNA folds could potentially keep viral proteins from being produced to minimize immune response. Studying how these folds might impact living beings, either positively or negatively, first requires scientists to detect their presence.UCR organic chemistry professor Richard Hooley and his colleagues modified a concept that has previously been used to sense other things, such as chemical components in different vintages of wine.
The Chemical Nose is composed of three parts: host molecules, fluorescent guest molecules, and DNA, which is the target. When the desired folds are present, the guest glows, alerting scientists to their presence in a sample. DNA is made of four nucleic acids: guanine, adenine, cytosine and thymine. Most of the time, these acids form a double helix structure resembling a ladder. Guanine-rich regions sometimes fold in a different manner, creating what’s called a G-quadruplex.