Copying of unnatural nucleic acids
Prof. Andreas Marx, Universität Konstanz
DNA is the storage of genetic information in Nature. Transmission of the genetic information from the parental DNA strand to the offspring is crucial for the survival of any living species. The entire DNA synthesis in DNA replication is catalyzed by DNA polymerases and depends on their ability to select the canonical nucleotide from a pool of structurally similar building blocks. Besides the crucial biological role of DNA polymerases, these enzymes are the workhorses in numerous important molecular biological core technologies such as the ubiquitous polymerase chain reaction (PCR), cDNA cloning, genome sequencing, and nucleic acids based diagnostics that require the use of highly modified substrates.
We will report recent results of structural and functional investigations on how DNA polymerases process unnatural substrates and on how to engineer these ‘nanomachines’ to go beyond the scope Nature provided.