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A Polypeptide-DNA Hybrid with Selective Linking Capability Applied to Single Molecule Nano-Mechanical Measurements Using Optical Tweezers

Fatemeh Moayed, Alireza Mashagh, Sander J. Tans
 Many applications in biosensing, biomaterial engineering and single molecule biophysics require multiple non-covalent linkages between DNA, protein molecules, and surfaces that are specific yet strong. Here, we present a novel method to join proteins and dsDNA molecule at their ends, in an efficient, rapid and specific manner, based on the recently developed linkage between the protein StrepTactin (STN) and the peptide StrepTag II (ST). We introduce a two-step approach, in which we first construct a hybrid between DNA and a tandem of two STs peptides (tST). In a second step, this hybrid is linked to polystyrene bead surfaces and Maltose Binding Protein (MBP) using STN. Furthermore, we show the STN-tST linkage is more stable against forces applied by optical tweezers than the commonly used biotin-Streptavidin (STV) linkage. It can be used in conjunction with Neutravidin (NTV)-biotin linkages to form DNA tethers that can sustain applied forces above 65 pN for tens of minutes in a quarter of the cases. The method is general and can be applied to construct other surface-DNA and protein-DNA hybrids. The reversibility, high mechanical stability and specificity provided by this linking procedure make it highly suitable for single molecule mechanical studies, as well as biosensing and lab on chip applications.

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