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Horst Klump

Professor Horst Klump
Biothermodyanics | Telephone: +27 21 650 2407 | Facsimile: +27 21 689 7573


Conventionally, DNA is viewed as the material which serves in living cells to store genetic information. For this purpose, it is usually used in its double-stranded linear form. However, more recently, interest has grown in using DNA as a material to serve other purposes, such as molecular wires. Over the years we have investigated uncommon DNA structures consisting of linear or branched double-stranded, triple-stranded or even quadruple-stranded DNA helices. These have the potential to form nanostructures with differing surface charge densities. The branched structures are particularly interesting, since they can, in principle, be used to build two- and three-dimensional networks. To make selective connections, the sequences should have single-stranded extensions, for example, the cohesive ends generated by restriction enzymes which would allow the DNA to assemble with complimentary extensions in a unique way. At present, little is known concerning the thermodynamics and kinetics of the formation of these rather complex structures. By means of a covalently linked dye such as acridine orange as a fluorescence emitter, a single electron can be donated and its movement can be followed by means of suitable fluorescence acceptors.

Horst Klump is one of the world's foremost experts on thermodynamic studies of biologically important systems. His work is of both fundamental and practical importance. In the fundmental arena, his work has provided us with important insights into the nature of the forces that stabilise nucleic acids and thermostable proteins. It is of practical importance in that his data are used in a broad range of biomedical and biotechnological applications, including DNA-based diagnostic protocols and protein engineering.

Very few biothermodynamicist laboratories have had a scientific impact as broad ranging as the Klump group. His important work on the polymorphic nature of DNA structures, punctuated by his clever and innovative design of model systems, has produced some of the most trusted data on higher-order DNA structures, while his database on duplex DNA is valued throughout the international scientific community. Horst Klump provides a unique resource of skill and awareness in biophysical research in South Africa.


Kaplan, W., Hüsler, P., Klump, H., Erhardt, J., Sluis-Cremer, N. and Dirr, H. 1997. Conformational stability of pGEX-expressed Schistosoma japonicum glutathione S-transferase: a detoxification enzyme and fusion-protein affinity tag. Protein Science 6:399-406.

Shiber, M.C., Braswell, E.H., Klump, H. and Fresco, J.R. 1996. Duplex-tetraplex equilibrium between a hairpin and two interacting hairpins of d(A-G)10 at neutral pH. Nucleic Acids Research 24:5004-5012.

Mills, M., and Klump, H.H. 1997. A new twist to an old tale: the influence of the exchange of thymine for adenine on the stability of a purine motif DNA triple helix. S.A. Journal of Chemistry 50(4): 184-188.

Mills, M. and Klump, H.H. 1998. Systematic mutations in the third strand of a purine motif DNA triple helix: a story of a molecule which hides its tail. Nucleotides and Nucleosides 17: 1919-1936.

Makube, N., Klump, H.H., Pikkemaat, J. and Altona, C. 1999. Thermodynamic properties of an intramolecular DNA four-way junction. Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics 364:53-60.

Mills, M., Arimondo, P.B., Lacroix, L., Garestier, T., Helene, C., Klump, H.H. and Mergny, J-L. Energetics of strand-displacement reactions in triple helices: a spectroscopic study. Journal of Molecular Biology. 291:1035-1054.

Schrader, B., Schultz, H., Andreev, G., Klump, H.H. and Sawatzki, J. 1999. Non-destructive NIR-FT Raman spectroscopy of plant and animal tissues, of food and works of art. Journal of Molecular Structure 480:21-32.

Schrader, B., Klump, H.H., Schenzel, K. and Schultz, H. 1999. Non-destructive NIR-FT Raman analysis of plants. Journal of Molecular Structure 509:201-212.

Chapter in Book

Klump, H.H. 1998 Energetics that control the stability and dynamics of secondary and tertiary structure of nucleic acids. Handbook of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry. In Kemp, R. (ed.) Elsevier Science.

Klump, H.H. 1999. Dynamics of secondary and tertiary structure of nucleic acids. In "From Molecules to Man", Kemp, R.B. (ed.). Elsevier (Amsterdam). Ch 1, pp 1-61.