The researchers have broken the paradigm of the supposed stiffness of DNA -a sort of symbol that is popularly associated with the double helix of Watson and Crick-, by demonstrating that this molecule can also adopt complicated three-dimensional structures in addition to being much more flexible than what was previously thought.
Deoxyribozymes are single strands of DNA that are synthesized in the laboratory in order to exploit their catalytic activity. Specifically, the researchers have successfully visualized the structure of a deoxyribozyme named 9DB1, which catalyses the ligation of two RNA strands.
According to the authors of this study published in the journal Nature, the findings help us to better understand the molecular principles of the reactions in which this type of molecule plays a part.
"There are many applications for deoxyribozymes, from catalysing the ligation of two DNA or RNA fragments, to repairing any of its components, such as thymine," explains the author, who announced that the clinical trials for its use in medicine are already underway.