Vibrational and chiroptical spectroscopy of nucleotides and nucleic acids

Author: Mgr. Štěpán Jílek
Supervisor: RNDr. Václav Profant, Ph.D.
Consultants: Doc. RNDr. Peter Mojzeš, CSc., RNDr. Petr Bouř, DSc.
Type: Doctoral

Annotation: Information about the secondary and tertiary structural arrangement of nucleic acids and the mechanism of their interactions is crucial for a detailed understanding of how genetic information is transmitted and expressed. Understanding these processes in living organisms is vital for the design of new therapeutic approaches intervening in these processes. In addition to their genetic role, shorter nucleic acid segments, as well as individual nucleotides, have a wide range of functions in living organisms - they occur in many energy-transmitting cofactors (e.g. FAD), participate in cellular communication, and participate in various processes of biological synthesis. Nucleic acids and their components are widely studied - the predominant methods are gel electrophoresis, X-ray diffraction, absorption, and NMR spectroscopy. Given the possibility to measure in a natural aqueous environment and the relative flexibility of the experiment to study the effects of external conditions and changes in the composition of interacting substances, vibrational spectroscopy (and especially Raman spectroscopy) together with its chirally sensitive variants using inherent nucleotide chirality form a suitable link between methods limited to low concentration (absorption and CD spectroscopy) and X-ray structural analyzes of crystals. The content of the dissertation will therefore be the study of the origin, structure, conformational transitions, and thermal stability of canonical and non-canonical (guanine quadruplexes, etc.) nucleic acid structures and various self-assembly of nucleotides and oligonucleotides caused by changes in concentration or external conditions. The work is methodically, instrumentally, and materially secure. The applicant is expected to have knowledge at the level of a completed master's degree in biophysics and chemical physics, but especially an initiative and independent approach.