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
Symbiotic bacteria: from hitchhiker to beetle bodyguard
28.04.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis
28.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Grenzflächen- und Bioverfahrenstechnik IGB
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
28.04.2017 | Event News
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering
28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences
28.04.2017 | Life Sciences