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The University of Southampton

Nanopore Detection of DNA Damage using the 'Latch' Sensing Zone of α -Hemolysin Seminar

8 May 2014
Building 27, Room 2001 Chemistry University of Southampton Southampton SO17 1BJ

For more information regarding this seminar, please email Nuria Garcia-Araez at .

Event details

Dr Rob Johnson presents a seminar as part of the electrochemistry seminar series.

DNA Damage in human cells is ubiquitous. Fortunately for us, nature has several tools in its arsenal that can repair the damage to our DNA and keep us running smoothly. In this presentation, I will discuss some of our recent progress in using the protein nanopore α-hemolysin as a tool to detect and study DNA damage at the single molecule level. Double-stranded DNA can be driven under an applied voltage into α-hemolysin, reducing the measured current through the pore. Through the discovery of a previously-unrecognised sensing zone, which is specific to dsDNA, we are able to detect an abasic site (effectively a missing base) opposite guanine (G) relative to a complementary CG base-pair. I will show how this technique can be used to monitor the activity of the repair enzyme Uracil-DNA glycosylase, which cleaves the abnormal base U from DNA as one step of the base-excision repair pathway.

Speaker information

Dr Rob Johnson, University of Utah. Rob completed his PhD under the supervision of Professor Phil Bartlett at the University of Southampton in 2011. His thesis was entitled ‘Denaturation of Nucleic Acids on Electrode Surfaces’. In late 2011 he was awarded a Doctoral Prize Award to continue his research in Southampton, before moving in 2013 for a postdoc position at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, under the supervision of Professor Henry White. During his time in the USA, Rob has been developing nanopore technologies to characterise DNA damage and repair. In April 2014 he started an EU-funded Marie-Curie international outgoing research fellowship based first at the University of Utah and from 2016, at the University of Warwick. His current work seeks to exploit recent developments in diamond machining to develop novel diamond nanopore based sensor technologies for DNA detection.

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