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
Research team of the HAW Hamburg reanimated ancestral microbe from the depth of the earth
01.03.2017 | Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften Hamburg
Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells
01.03.2017 | Universität Basel
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded after a glide flight with an Airbus A320 in ditching on the Hudson River. All 155 people on board were saved.
On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded...
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”...
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...
13.02.2017 | Event News
10.02.2017 | Event News
09.02.2017 | Event News
01.03.2017 | Health and Medicine
01.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
01.03.2017 | Life Sciences