Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

DNA origami nano-tool provides important clue to cancer

07.07.2014

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have headed a study that provides new knowledge about the EphA2 receptor, which is significant in several forms of cancer.

This is important knowledge in itself – but just as important is how this study, which is published in the highly respected journal Nature Methods, was conducted. The researchers used the method of DNA origami, in which a DNA molecule is shaped into a nanostructure, and used these structures to test theories about cell signalling.


DNA-origami graphics. Credit: Björn Högberg

It was previously known that the EphA2 receptor played a part in several forms of cancer, such as breast cancer. The ligand, i.e., the protein that communicates with the receptor, is known as an ephrin molecule. Researchers have had a hypothesis that the distance between different ligands – in this case the distance between ephrin molecules – affects the level of activity in the communicating receptor of the adjacent cells.

The Swedish researchers set out to test this hypothesis. They used DNA building blocks to form a stable rod. This has then been used as a very accurate measure of the distance between molecules.

... more about:
»DNA »EphA2 »breast »ligands »proteins »receptor »structures

“We use DNA as the construction material for a tool that we can experiment with”, says Björn Högberg, principal investigator at the Department of Neuroscience. “The genetic code of the DNA in these structures is less important in this case.”

The researchers attached proteins, or ephrins, to the DNA rod at various intervals, for example 40 or 100 nanometres apart. The DNA rods were then placed in a solution containing breast cancer cells. In the next step, the researchers looked at how active EphA2 was in these cancer cells.

It turned out that if the ephrin molecules were placed close together on the DNA rod, the receptor in question became more active in the cancer cells, and the cells also became less invasive in respect of the surrounding cells, which could be an indication that they became less prone to metastasis. This was true even though the amount of protein was the same throughout the experiments, i.e., the number of attached molecules remained the same.

“For the very first time, we have been able to prove this hypothesis: the activity of EphA2 is influenced by how closely spaced the ligands are on the surrounding cells”, says Björn Högberg. “This is an important result in itself, but the point of our study is also that we have developed a method for examining how cells react to nearby cells in a controlled environment, using our custom DNA nano-calipers.”

The researchers describe the cell communication as a form of Braille, where the cells somehow sense the protein patterns of nearby cells, and where the important thing is not only the amount of proteins, but to a great extent the distance between them as well. This study found that a cluster of proteins would communicate more actively than sparsely spaced proteins, even if the concentration was the same.

“This is a model that can help us learn more about the importance of the spatial organization of proteins in the cell membrane to how cells communicate with each other, something that will hopefully pave the way for a brand new approach to pharmaceuticals in the long term”, says Ana Teixeira, a principal investigator at the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology.

“Today, the function of the pharmaceuticals is often to completely block proteins or receptors, but it is possible that we should rather look at the proteins in their biological context, where the clustering and placement of various proteins are relevant factors for the effect of a drug. This is probably an area where there is important knowledge to obtain, and this is a way of doing it.”

The study is financed by funds from the Swedish Research Council, the Strategic Research Program in Stem Cell Research and Regenerative Medicine (StratRegen) at Karolinska Institutet, Vinnova, Carl Bennet AB. 

http://news.cision.com/karolinska-institutet/r/dna-origami-nano-tool-provides-important-clue-to-cancer,c9610959

Katarina Sternudd | AlphaGalileo

Further reports about: DNA EphA2 breast ligands proteins receptor structures

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New Model of T Cell Activation
27.05.2016 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht Fungi – a promising source of chemical diversity
27.05.2016 | Leibniz-Institut für Naturstoff-Forschung und Infektionsbiologie - Hans-Knöll-Institut (HKI)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Worldwide Success of Tyrolean Wastewater Treatment Technology

A biological and energy-efficient process, developed and patented by the University of Innsbruck, converts nitrogen compounds in wastewater treatment facilities into harmless atmospheric nitrogen gas. This innovative technology is now being refined and marketed jointly with the United States’ DC Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water). The largest DEMON®-system in a wastewater treatment plant is currently being built in Washington, DC.

The DEMON®-system was developed and patented by the University of Innsbruck 11 years ago. Today this successful technology has been implemented in about 70...

Im Focus: Computational high-throughput screening finds hard magnets containing less rare earth elements

Permanent magnets are very important for technologies of the future like electromobility and renewable energy, and rare earth elements (REE) are necessary for their manufacture. The Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM in Freiburg, Germany, has now succeeded in identifying promising approaches and materials for new permanent magnets through use of an in-house simulation process based on high-throughput screening (HTS). The team was able to improve magnetic properties this way and at the same time replaced REE with elements that are less expensive and readily available. The results were published in the online technical journal “Scientific Reports”.

The starting point for IWM researchers Wolfgang Körner, Georg Krugel, and Christian Elsässer was a neodymium-iron-nitrogen compound based on a type of...

Im Focus: Atomic precision: technologies for the next-but-one generation of microchips

In the Beyond EUV project, the Fraunhofer Institutes for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen and for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF in Jena are developing key technologies for the manufacture of a new generation of microchips using EUV radiation at a wavelength of 6.7 nm. The resulting structures are barely thicker than single atoms, and they make it possible to produce extremely integrated circuits for such items as wearables or mind-controlled prosthetic limbs.

In 1965 Gordon Moore formulated the law that came to be named after him, which states that the complexity of integrated circuits doubles every one to two...

Im Focus: Researchers demonstrate size quantization of Dirac fermions in graphene

Characterization of high-quality material reveals important details relevant to next generation nanoelectronic devices

Quantum mechanics is the field of physics governing the behavior of things on atomic scales, where things work very differently from our everyday world.

Im Focus: Graphene: A quantum of current

When current comes in discrete packages: Viennese scientists unravel the quantum properties of the carbon material graphene

In 2010 the Nobel Prize in physics was awarded for the discovery of the exceptional material graphene, which consists of a single layer of carbon atoms...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Networking 4.0: International Laser Technology Congress AKL’16 Shows New Ways of Cooperations

24.05.2016 | Event News

Challenges of rural labor markets

20.05.2016 | Event News

International expert meeting “Health Business Connect” in France

19.05.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

11 million Euros for research into magnetic field sensors for medical diagnostics

27.05.2016 | Awards Funding

Fungi – a promising source of chemical diversity

27.05.2016 | Life Sciences

New Model of T Cell Activation

27.05.2016 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>