The innovation engine for new materials

DNA-based Fluorescent Reporters for Live Imaging

Seminar Group: 


Prof. Yamuna Krishnan


Department of Chemistry & Grossman Institute of Neuroscience
University of Chicago


Monday, April 18, 2016 - 4:00pm


MRL Room 2053


Profs. Kevin Plaxco and Ram Seshadri

DNA can be self-assembled into molecularly precise, well-defined, synthetic assemblies on the nanoscale, commonly referred to as designer DNA nanodevices.[1] My lab creates synthetic, chemically responsive, DNA-based fluorescent probes.[2] In 2009 my  lab  discovered  that  these designer nanodevices  could  function  as  quantitative  fluorescent  reporters  to  spatiotemporally image second messengers in living systems.[3] Until this innovation, it was not at all obvious whether such DNA nanodevices could function inside a living cell without being interfered with, or interfering with, the cells own networks of DNA control. In my talk I will discuss how we get our DNA nanodevices to interface with the cellular world in programmable and targeted ways, function  as  fluorescent  reporters  and  quantitate  an  analyte  within  specific  organelles  of  targeted  cells  within  a  living multicellular organism.[4-6] I will describe our most recent work - a fluorescent reporter for chloride in live cells,[6,7] the first in vivo measure of chloride (unpublished) and how by quantifying organelle function DNA nanodevices can report on disease severity (unpublished). 


[1] Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2011, 50, 3124-3156; [2] Ann. Rev. Biochem. 2016 in press; [3] Nature Nanotechnol.2009, 4, 325-330;

[4] Nature Nanotechnol. 2013, 8, 459-467; [5] Nature Commun. 2011, 2, 339; [6] Nature Nanotechnol. 2015, 10, 741-747; Nature Nanotechnol. 2015, 10, 645-651; [7] Chem. Sci. 2016, 7, 1946-1953.