DNA-based straight and branched polymers or nanomaterials that can be created and dissolved using biocompatible methods are now possible thanks to the work of Penn State biomedical engineers.
Synthetic polymers may lead to advances in a broad range of biological and biomedical applications such as drug delivery, molecular detection and bioimaging.
"Achieving reversibility of synthetic polymers and nanomaterials has been a long-standing dream for many biomedical engineers," said Yong Wang, associate professor of biomedical engineering. "Scientists want to see these polymers reverse or disappear when we are finished with them, but that often involves the use of high temperatures and chemical solvents. With that idea in mind, the aim of our study was to create synthetic polymers that would decompose without the use of harsh elements or increased stress. In principle, the polymers could be further tuned to synthesize a diverse array of nanomaterials or bulk materials."
To assemble the dynamic polymers, researchers linked DNA initiators -- straight DNA strands with a single binding domain -- to two DNA monomers with multiple domains. The bonded molecules formed a linear double-stranded DNA structure with a separate and functional side group. The researchers then created a trigger molecule that attached to the side group and initiated a "reverse without the involvement of any non-physiological factors," according to a recent article in Angewandte Chemie International Edition.
The researchers also showed that branched polymers responded to the same technique.
Branched polymers synthesized with a straight polymer and two DNA monomers yielded two functional side groups with the ability to reverse when induced by two molecular triggers.
The researchers performed preliminary testing of the model in water, with subsequent testing conducted on synthetic antibodies. Antibody trials proved that growth and depolymerization of straight and branched polymers were also possible on the microparticle surface and in the extracellular matrix.
Wang and his team are hopeful that by uniting the polymers with various molecules and materials, their findings will hold value for a number of wide-ranging applications.
Collaborating with Wang on the project were Niancao Chen, research fellow at Boston Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School and recent Penn State Ph.D and Xuechen Shi, Penn State graduate student in bioengineering.
Integrated National Science Foundation Support Promoting Interdisciplinary Research and Education and the National Institutes of Health Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute supported this work.
A'ndrea Elyse Messer | EurekAlert!
Hidden talents: Converting heat into electricity with pencil and paper
20.02.2018 | Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie
Contacting the molecular world through graphene nanoribbons
19.02.2018 | Elhuyar Fundazioa
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.
But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...
Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...
Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters
Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
20.02.2018 | Life Sciences
20.02.2018 | Medical Engineering
20.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy