Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Chemists reach from the molecular to the real world with creation of 3-D DNA crystals

04.09.2009
New York University chemists have created three-dimensional DNA structures, a breakthrough bridging the molecular world to the world where we live.

The work, reported in the latest issue of the journal Nature, also has a range of potential industrial and pharmaceutical applications, such as the creation of nanoelectronic components and the organization of drug receptor targets to enable illumination of their 3D structures.

While scientists, including those involved in this study, have previously designed and built crystal structures, these compositions have been two-dimensional—that is, their axes are on a single plane— and are not the most complete representation of crystals.

To address this limitation, the research team, headed by NYU Chemistry Professor Nadrian Seeman, sought to design and build three-dimensional DNA crystals—a process that requires significant spatial control of the 3D structure of matter. The project also included researchers from Purdue University's Department of Chemistry and the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois.

To do this, the researchers created DNA crystals by making synthetic sequences of DNA that have the ability to self-assemble into a series of 3D triangle-like motifs. The creation of the crystals was dependent on putting "sticky ends"—small cohesive sequences on each end of the motif—that attach to other molecules and place them in a set order and orientation. The make-up of these sticky ends allows the motifs to attach to each other in a programmed fashion.

Seeman and his colleagues had previously created crystals using this process. However, because these crystals self-assembled on the same plane, they were two-dimensional in composition. In the work reported in Nature, the researchers expanded on the earlier efforts by taking advantage of DNA's double-helix structure to create 3D crystals. The 2D crystals are very small—about 1/1000th of a millimeter—but the 3D crystals are between 1/4 and 1 millimeter, visible to the naked eye.

DNA's double helices form when single strands of DNA—each containing four molecular components called bases, attached to backbone—self-assemble by matching up their bases. The researchers added sticky ends to these double helices, forming single-stranded overhangs to each double helix. Where these overhanging sticky ends were complementary, they bind together to link two double helices. This is a common technique used by genetic engineers, who apply it on a much larger scale. By linking together multiple helices through single-stranded sticky ends, the researchers were able to form a lattice-like structure that extends in six different directions, thereby yielding a 3D crystal.

"With this technique we can organize more matter and work with it in many more ways than we could with 2D crystals," Seeman observed.

A promising avenue for the application of this approach is in nanoelectronics, using components no bigger than single molecules. Currently, such products are built with 2D components. Given the enhanced flexibility that 3D components would yield, manufacturers could build parts that are smaller and closer together as well as more sophisticated in design.

The scientists also expect that they can organize biological macromolecules by attaching them to these crystals. This can help in the development of drugs because macromolecules arranged in crystals can be visualized by a technique known as X-ray crystallography. By adding drugs to these crystals, their interactions with these biological components can be visualized.

X-ray diffraction data were collected from DNA crystals and their iodinated derivatives on beamlines X6A and X25 at the National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS) at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York and on beamline ID19 at the Structural Biology Center at Advanced Photon Source in Argonne, Illinois.

Bob Sweet, a biophysicist and the leader of the group who run NSLS beamline X25, observed, "This is one of the neatest structures I've seen in years. It really connects biotechnology to nanotechnology. We've been helping these folks for over a dozen years, and they really hit the ball out of the park. It's beautiful!"

The research was supported by grants from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Army Research Office, the Office of Naval Research, and the W.M. Keck

James Devitt | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nyu.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Antimicrobial substances identified in Komodo dragon blood
23.02.2017 | American Chemical Society

nachricht New Mechanisms of Gene Inactivation may prevent Aging and Cancer
23.02.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Alternsforschung - Fritz-Lipmann-Institut e.V. (FLI)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

From rocks in Colorado, evidence of a 'chaotic solar system'

23.02.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

'Quartz' crystals at the Earth's core power its magnetic field

23.02.2017 | Earth Sciences

Antimicrobial substances identified in Komodo dragon blood

23.02.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>