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Dance your PhD 2014 – Photoswitchable zinc-finger

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In this video I want to show part of my PhD research which involves the incorporation of a molecular motor into a biological system. A molecular motor consists of two units that can rotate unidirectionally around the axis of a double bond through the sequential input of light and heat. In the first scene we synthesise the molecular motor: two ketones react together and with the help of titanium they lose oxygen (represented by the red balloons) to form a double bond. In order to improve this reaction we needed to increase the concentration of the reaction, which is demonstrated in scene two. The can-can dance in scene three shows the four states of the molecular motor which are obtained upon irradiation and heating and provide complete 360 degree unidirectional rotation. My PhD then goes on to investigate how this unique property of molecular motors, specifically the four different states, can be used to interfere and control biological systems. Our chosen biological system is a zinc finger peptide which is important in DNA expression: we introduce the molecular motor into the zinc finger by solid phase peptide synthesis and, in the final scene, investigate the influence of the different states of the molecular motor on the structure and function of the zinc finger.
I thank all my friends that danced with me and helped me to accomplish this amazing project;)

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