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Application of metallo-DNA in nanoelectronics

Project Description

Recent advances in chemistry of nucleic acids enabled preparation of chemically modified DNA and RNA molecules including various types of metal-mediated base pairs (M-base pairs) – the M-DNA/RNA molecules. Importantly, the M-base pairs involving regular DNA bases linked by Hg(II) and Ag(I) metals, T-Hg-T and C-Ag-C, perfectly fit in canonical duplex due to very similar spatial occupations as compared to their canonical variants T-A and C-G. Moreover, the metal array aligned along DNA helical axis is shielded from the solvent. Introducing the heavy metals in consecutive M-base pairs illuminated effect of “metallophilic attraction” on stability of M-DNA due to the relativistic effects. The previous studies on chemistry, structure, spectroscopy and thermodynamics of M-nucleic acids highlighted their favorable physicochemical properties with regard to nanoelectronic applications, e.g. in the form of molecular wire as conductance of the normal nucleic acids is known to be small. This PhD project will be focused on theoretical modelling of physicochemical properties, and particularly on charge-transport properties of M-DNAs towards their optimisation as functional molecules/nanodevices. Theoretical modelling will be conducted in close collaboration with domestic and Japanese experimental laboratories.

How to apply

To apply for a PhD study at IOCB Prague, you must hold a Master’s degree (MSc) or the equivalent of the MSc in similar field (four or five year undergraduate degree). The application can be submitted before obtaining the Master’s degree, however, the applicant should obtain the degree within five months after the application deadline.

For more information visit our website “Call for PhD applications 2019”:

You can apply online via our application form


All general enquiries should be directed to Katerina Solcova (). Scientific enquiries can be addressed to the supervisor ().

Funding Notes

Regular monthly income of students at IOCB Prague varies depending on the faculty scholarship and supervisor's financial options.


1. Tanaka Y., et al. Structures, physicochemical properties, and applications of T–HgII–T, C–AgI–C, and other metallo-base-pairs” Chem. Commun., 51, (2015), pp 17343-17360.
2. Dairaku T., Furuita K., Sato H., Sebera J., Nakashima K., Ono A., Sychrovsky V., Kojima C., Tanaka Y., “Hg-II/Ag-I-mediated base pairs and their NMR spectroscopic studies”, Inorg. Chim. Acta, 452, (2016), pp 34-42.
3. Sebera J., et al. Formation of a Thymine-Hg-II-Thymine Metal-Mediated DNA Base Pair: Proposal and Theoretical Calculation of the Reaction Pathway, Chem.-Eur. J.,19, (2013), pp 9884-9894.
4. Yamaguchi H., et al. The structure of metallo-DNA with consecutive thymine-Hg-II-thymine base pairs explains positive entropy for the metallo base pair formation, Nucleic Acids Res., 42, (2014), pp 4094-4099.
5. Benda L., et al. On the role of mercury in the non-covalent stabilisation of consecutive U-Hg(II)-U metal-mediated nucleic acid base pairs: metallophilic attraction enters the world of nucleic acids, Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 13, (2011), pp 100-103.
6. Kratochvilova I., et al. Charge Transport in DNA Oligonucleotides with Various Base-Pairing Patterns, Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 114, (2010), pp 5196-5205.
7. Kratochvilova I., et al. Theoretical and Experimental Study of Charge Transfer through DNA: Impact of Mercury Mediated T-Hg-T Base Pair, Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 118, (2014), pp 5374-5381.

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