By using small molecules as keys, the cage can be opened or part of the DNA can be freed. Scientists of the MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology of the University of Twente in The Netherlands report about this in Angewandte Chemie International Edition, in their cover article on February 26, 2007.
DNA, being the carrier of genetic information in living creatures, can also be used in man-made technology, for instance in bioinformatics and DNA-computing. Scientists Yujie Ma and Mark Hempenius of the University of Twente managed to combine DNA macromolecules with synthetic polymers containing iron. The result is a novel way of creating porous structures, spherical ‘cages’ for example.
The walls of these cages are built step by step. The scientist therefore ingeniously use the different properties the two types of molecules have. DNA has a negative electrical charge while the polymer containing iron is positively charged. Another essential features of DNA is that the molecule is much more rigid than the polymer. The polymer wraps around the DNA and forms a very stable couple with it. What binds them together are electrostatic forces.
The spherical cage can transport medicine and deliver it locally. The cage can be opened by letting small molecules function as ‘keys’: they oxidize the iron and break the bond between the DNA and the polymer locally. In the same way, it is possible to free DNA-fragments from the cage, and apply them in gen therapy. Genes are then inserted into cells and tissue to treat inherited disease.
Macroporous materials like the new cages, with pore sizes larger than 50 nanometers, have a wide range of possible applications, but they are not easily fabricated until now. The DNA-polymer combination is an example of ‘self-assembly’ in which molecules organize themselves. It is a powerful new method to create the materials and an important step towards innovative applications.
The research, led by prof. Julius Vancso of the MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology of the University of Twente and prof. Helmuth Möhwald of the Max-Planck-Institut für Kolloid- und Grenzflächenforschung in Golm, Germany, is published in the February 26 issue of Angewandte Chemie International.
Wiebe van der Veen | alfa
Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery
20.01.2017 | GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH
Seeking structure with metagenome sequences
20.01.2017 | DOE/Joint Genome Institute
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences