DNA sequencing with nanopores.
The principles of DNA sequencing with nanopores are simple; a nanopore is placed within a membrane that separates two compartments. When a potential difference is applied across the membrane, ions from the two compartments move through the pore according to the electric field that is set up, this ion conductance can be measured. When DNA is placed in one of the compartments it too moves through the pore, as it does so, it causes partial blockage of the current. Each of the 4 DNA bases gives slightly different signature blockage; this forms the basis of the sequencing method.
To date protein-based nanopore work has largely focussed on the S.aureus toxin; alpha hemolysin. However in the search for optimal properties for DNA sequencing, it is desirable to investigate a number of different pores. We are using molecular modelling and simulation techniques to explore the behaviour of ssDNA as it translocates through a range of nano-scale pores (proteinaceous and synthetic).
Much of our work in this area is funded by Oxford Nanopore Technologies
Details of individual projects in this area, will appear here soon.