In the Barton group, we have examined the chemical and physical properties of DNA and the biological implications of those properties. Our research has shown that DNA is more than just the library of the cell, existing only to hold genetic information; on the contrary, DNA is a molecule rich in chemical complexity and full of surprises.
Previously, the Barton group has shown that the overlapping π system of stacked DNA bases can mediate the transfer of electrical charge (electrons and holes) over long distances. This DNA-mediated charge transfer (DNA CT) occurs in a variety of sequence contexts and between various types of charge donors and acceptors, shows a shallow distance dependence, and is exquisitely sensitive to perturbations to the base stack such as chemical damage and base pair mismatches. Nature utilizes this chemistry for long range signaling between proteins containing Fe4S4 clusters in replication and repair.
Our current research was focused in three areas: