Exploring New Approaches to Sequencing DNA Using Nanopores

Aksimentiev, Oleksii

It has been suggested that the sequence of a DNA strand can be read by using an electric field to thread the DNA strand through a nanopore and measure the ionic current modulations produced by DNA nucleotides blocking the nanopore. Over the past ten years, this idea has captured the imaginations of tens of thousands of researchers and continues to generate excitement in both scientific publications and the mass media. Spectacular recent progress in using enzymes to control DNA translocation through biological nanopores has made nanopore sequencing of DNA plausible. However, several problems still need to be addressed before the nanopore method could be used to determine the sequence of an arbitrary DNA molecule with high accuracy. Here, I will describe the results of computational experiments demonstrating control over translocation of DNA through solid-state nanopores using temperature gradients, step-wise transport in stacked-graphene nanopore systems, trapping and controlled displacement of DNA in plasmonic nanopores and the use of DNA origami to custom-shape nanopores.