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The finding of DNA compaction could help treat genetic disorders

BHUBANESWAR: In a breakthrough discovery, scientists from Odisha have unearthed some unique physicochemical properties in ionic liquids (organic salts in liquid state) that could be better alternatives to DNA compaction to help treat genetic disorders.

After a series of experiments, researchers from the National Institute of Science Education and Research (NISER) and the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) claimed that the structure of DNA bends or becomes more convex compared to its original shape after molecular interactions with magnetic fields. ionic liquids.

The scientists also discovered that decompacting DNA can be easily achieved by adding NaCl (sodium chloride), also known as salt or table salt, and this has far-reaching implications for biomedical applications. The findings on DNA compaction and de-condensation will help in the treatment of genetic disorders such as albinism, Angelman syndrome, ankylosing spondylitis, Apert syndrome, congenital adrenal hyperplasia, Huntington’s disease, neurofibromatosis and hemochromatosis, in addition to hemophilia, thalassemia and several other genetic diseases.

Professor at the School of Chemical Sciences, NISER Himansu Sekhar Biswal, said ionic liquids are proving to be an alternative green solvent for the storage and stability of DNA. “There are thousands of ionic liquids available. During experiments, we encountered some amazing results with cholinium-based ionic liquids, which could be better alternatives for DNA compaction,” he said.

An important part of gene regulation in an organism takes place at the level of transcription, which basically operates on two main strategies. But compressed DNA can be useful for inhibiting transcriptional activity. This will be useful in treating genetic disorders, which are caused wholly or partly by a change in the DNA sequence, deviating from the normal sequence, Prof. Biswal told TNIE.

The new phenomenon, the scientists say, can be used to protect against chemical or biochemical stress. It also has promising applications in the areas of nanomaterial templates, stress reduction, gene regulation, photocontrol of gene expression, and protecting DNA integrity. Assistant Professor of the Department of Chemical Sciences at IISER, Berhampur Malay Kumar Rana, said that DNA compaction is crucial for the functioning of the cell and involves organizing and condensing DNA strands, making them fit into cellular compartments.

The study ‘Compaction and de-compaction of ct-DNA’ has been published in Chemical Science, a peer-reviewed and impactful journal published by the Royal Society of Chemistry, London. It was placed on the front page of the magazine.