The study of anionic lipoplexes, i.e. ternary systems formed by anionic lipids, cations and DNA, becomes the main research line in the project “Physicochemical properties of DNA-lipid complexes with biotechnology applications” (P09-FQM-4698). This research project was funded by Junta de Andalucía and was carried out in the Department of Applied Physics in the University of Granada (Spain) under the supervision of Dr. Alberto Martín-Molina (see abstract of the project).

This research line has continued through of 2 Microprojects from “Compromiso con la investigación y el desarrollo” supported by Campus de Excelencia Internacional BioTic Granada:

1. Mechanics properties of lipid interfaces: experiments and all-atomic simulactions (BS14-2015). Principal Investigator: Teresa del Castillo-Santaella.

2. Biophysics of phosphatidic acid interfaces (BS28-2015). Principal Investigator: Germán Luque-Caballero and Alberto Martín-Molina.

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PhD Thesis: “Cation-mediated interaction between DNA and Anionic Lipid Surfaces: experimental and simulation study” of Germán Luque-Caballero associated to the project P09-FQM-4698. Granada, July 2014.

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Last publications related to the project’s research line

[7]Interaction of DNA with likely-charged lipid monolayers: an experimental study“. Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces 178 (2019) 170-176. G. Luque-Caballero, J. Maldonado-Valderrama, M. Quesada-Pérez, A. Martín-Molina

[6]Atomic Force Microscopy as a tool to study the adsorption of DNA onto lipid interfaces“. Microscopy Research and Technique 80 (1), 11-17 (2017). G. Luque-Caballero, J. Maldonado-Valderrama, M. Quesada-Pérez, A. Martín-Molina

[5] Experimental and theoretical study of the interactions underlying anionic lipoplexesEUROPEAN BIOPHYSICS JOURNAL WITH BIOPHYSICS LETTERS 44, S195-S195 (2015). G. Luque-Caballero1, J. Maldonado-Valderrama, M. Quesada-Pérez, A. Martín-Molina

[4] Polyelectrolyte adsorption onto like-charged surfaces mediated by trivalent counterions: A Monte Carlo simulation study“. J. Chem. Phys. 140, 174701 (2014) G. Luque-Caballero, A. Martín-Molina, M. Quesada-Pérez

[3] Using AFM to probe the complexation of DNA with anionic lipid mediated by Ca2+: the role of surface pressure“. Soft Matter, 2014, 10, 2805–2815. G. Luque-Caballero, A. Martín-Molina, A. Y. Sánchez-Treviño, M. A. Rodriguez-Valverde, M. A. Cabrerizo-Vilchez, J. Maldonado-Valderrama

[2]Adsorption of DNA onto anionic lipid surfaces“. Adv. Colloid  Interface Sci. (Volume 206, April 2014, Pages 172–185) A. Martín-Molina, G. Luque-Caballero, J. Faraudo, M. Quesada-Pérez, J. Maldonado-Valderrama

[1]Competing forces in the interaction of polyelectrolytes with charged interfaces”. Curr. Opin. Colloid Interface Sci. Volume 18, Issue 6, December 2013, Pages 517–523. J. Faraudo, A. Martín-Molina

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Self-replication of DNA by its encoded proteins in liposome-based synthetic cells

Replication of DNA-encoded information and its conversion into functional proteins are universal properties of life. In an effort toward the construction of a synthetic minimal cell, we implement here the DNA replication machinery of the Φ29 virus in a cell-free gene expression system. Amplification of a linear DNA template by self-encoded, de novo synthesized Φ29 proteins is demonstrated. Complete information transfer is confirmed as the copied DNA can serve as a functional template for gene expression, which can be seen as an autocatalytic DNA replication cycle. These results show how the central dogma of molecular biology can be reconstituted and form a cycle in vitro. Finally, coupled DNA replication and gene expression is compartmentalized inside phospholipid vesicles providing the chassis for evolving functions in a prospective synthetic cell relying on the extant biology.

DNA with a Twist

Researchers show that DNA supercoils are dynamic structures that can “hop” long distances, a phenomenon that could affect gene regulation.

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