Understanding DNA Molecular Interactions – Why Size Matters

The properties that make MiniVectors™ superior for cell transfection and gene therapy also make it an ideal substrate for the study of DNA structure and molecular interactions.

Unlike large plasmids which will inevitably contain large portions of non-relevant sequences (bacterial origin, antibiotic resistance genes), MiniVectors can be constructed with precisely and exclusively the sequence to be studied. This allows a researcher to study the sequence of interest in the context of a supercoiled, circular DNA molecule without the complicating factors of a large excess of non-specific sequence. This should be of particular benefit for the study of DNA supercoiling, alternative non-B DNA structures and additionally the study of protein-DNA, DNA-DNA, DNA-RNA and drug-DNA interactions.

In addition to influences from the nucleic acid sequence itself, any interaction involving DNA is likely to be influenced by the degree of supercoiling within the molecule. Investigation of linear DNA has little relevance to the native interactions since DNA does not persist in a relaxed or linear state in vivo. Minivectors allow researchers for the first time to study a supercoiled and physiologically relevant DNA molecule in quantitative biophysical assays in order to gain a better appreciation of DNA structure, dynamics, and interactions.


Irobalieva RN, Fogg JM, Catanese DJ, Sutthibutpong T, Chen M, Barker AK, Ludtke SJ, Harris SA, Schmid MF, Chiu W, Zechiedrich L. (2015) Structural Diversity of supercoiled DNA. Nature Comm [Epub ahead of print]. [article]